True, but that's Greece for you, factionalism is ingrained. Since others brought up the question of the King intervening in the Parliamentary Monarchical system the Greeks were transitioning towards in the late 1800s, I'm now reminded of a conversation I had with someone a while back, in which the consensus ended up coming out to something like, it might've actually been better off for Greece if they'd left more power with the King - had the King actually been competent, of course.
And of 7 Greek kings we had...

Otto: Most certainly well meaning, but almost as certainly somewhere in the autism spectrum or having some kind of mental issues that counld not be diagnosed at the time IMO, mental problems seem to had run in the whole family.

George: Relatively competent what you'd expect any fellow of average intelligence thrust in his position. Tried to take advantage of his position at times, with stock exchange schemes, or hoping he'd get a princedom for each of his sons starting with Crete but he came through when he should.

Constantine: Mediocre general (officers supporting him nicknamed him none to flatteringly Douvar pasha, from douvari a word for wall... also used for people who cannot learn/are stupid) with fantasies he was an absolute monarch like his brother in law. The worst of the lot even if he meant well.

Alexander: Cared only for his cars and his girl and did mostly what he was told by the government. Compared to the rest that makes him a paragon of virtue. Competent? That's a different matter but at least knew his role,

George II: Gets overthrown, is lucky enough to be brought back after the 1935 mess. Gets accepted by the republicans only to install a royal dictactorship and all the support he had gained evaporates again... even among royalists. Is lucky enough for the communists to mess things up enough to give him a second chance. Dies before he can mess that up. Sorry but installing dictatorships is not a mark of competence.

Paul I: Probably a reasonable fellow on his own with that "minor" issue of his wife and their meddling in politics. Or for that matter the treasury of a country just out of 9 years of war being forced to pay extravagances like Sofia's marriage, when the royal family was still one of the richest in Greece.

Constantine II: In his own words from his memoirs on how Symeon of Bulgaria, then a cadet answered to him when he asked the guard on duty who was Symeon if he could call... Symeon "Are you an idiot?" Variants of people telling him this keep cropping in his memoirs... and mommy meddling didn't help him either.

No down with kings!

Funny, that's literally how someone described Greco-American relations to me, once; "Greece loves the Americans one decade, then the next decade they hate them and then back again."
Shorta kinda. Even if you were not a communist you had legitimate reasons to be anti-American after 1974. After that... we'll get into modern politics,

Sure, unfortunately, despite Otto's heartfelt desire to serve his people well, he wasn't a particularly competent King, hence his inability to rein in the Hellenic public's feverish desire to just charge in and grab whatever they could while the Ottomans were distracted. Unfortunately (as an addendum to my previous comment about power-sharing with the Monarchy), none of the Greek Kings were particularly outstanding at their job, hence why they kept falling from grace - though I seem to recall covering this earlier as well, with my comments on a Presidential Republic and how Greeks always like to go after who's on top, so moving on.
He and Amalia were at the head of the charge, it wasn't just a matter of not being able to keep his people in check they encouraged things, I suppose with the best of intentions. An episode at about this time when Otto during the occupation of Piraeus and while his foreign minister was off for London he spent several hours explaining to the poor fellow not what he should do in London but the great issue of whether the army should use bungles or drums says it all. Or that the student rebels against him 30 years later were the ones organizing services in him memory... but would had nevertheless rebelled again against him.

Sure, but as I previously pointed out, most of his domestic reforms were Goudi..... "requests" which he just implemented after coming into power, yet that bit is always seemingly overlooked whenever someone brings him up. So while, granted, we can credit him as being a solid political figure, in terms of policy, how much of it can actually be credited to him, vs. the Goudi Military League organisation?
Little. The requests were there for decades in many cases. Prior to Venizelos they were just that, requests.


Agreed with this, well put (and lol at the ASB comparison). Though yeah, he shouldn't have boycotted the 1915 December elections, that's a dangerous move in peacetime
That presupposes the December elections were legitimate... they were not since the king had already dissolved parliament and snap elections had taken place in May (and since the argument has been made that the letter of the law did not forbid an indefinite number of dissolving parliament, modern Greek constitutions explicitly state this to be on the safe side)... and of course that the elections would be actually free when there was every fear the royal government was going to fix them, helped by the fact the army was mobilized. (in retrospect I'll note that the royalist did fix the 1920 and 1935 referendums with nice Soviet numbers supposedly in favour of the king). So the Liberals should have participated in the farce to legitimize the fait accompli?

Now had the Salonica rebels not jumped the gun in fears of the French installing Serb civilian authorities in the city, ahead of the revolt in Athens....

..... wait, he what?
No he did not. He's on record believing he would had won the election, being completely shocked at the result and of still fearing something similar at the time of his 1928 landslide. That people within the Royalists put as a serious argument "this evil Venizelos, had elections as we were loudly demanding, in order for us to form a government as we wanted to do, so we could screw up because screwup was certain" is an indictment on the quality of most of the opposition, nothing more.
 
@Implied Good ,why I wrote to you in the first place is to learn why you hate Venizelos .I solved that and you seem to not calling him a clown anymore and in this last statement not even a traitor so I think my job here is done .I agree with your other points in general or I am not knowledgeable enough to disagree . I liked this discussions as most of them in this thread I have learn something.
 
Sorry but installing dictatorships is not a mark of competence.
Just ask the Italians......

An episode at about this time when Otto during the occupation of Piraeus and while his foreign minister was off for London he spent several hours explaining to the poor fellow not what he should do in London but the great issue of whether the army should use bungles or drums says it all.
You know, I'd actually read this story before somewhere, but had completely forgotten about it until just now. Thanks for the reminder ^^ (also, lol).

Little. The requests were there for decades in many cases. Prior to Venizelos they were just that, requests.
So, it's like Italian economic reforms in the last 30 years..... (disclaimer that I don't condone coups probably wouldn't be too out of place here, after that).

So the Liberals should have participated in the farce to legitimize the fait accompli?
A higher turnout means more ballots are accounted for, whereas a lower turnout allows for more manipulatory "wiggle room", no? I mean granted, I'm going by modern standards, but unless something has dramatically changed in the way elections are undertaken in the last 100 years, I'd say the concept is as rock solid 100 years ago as it is today. And besides, isn't voting compulsory in Greece?

No he did not. He's on record believing he would had won the election, being completely shocked at the result and of still fearing something similar at the time of his 1928 landslide. That people within the Royalists put as a serious argument "this evil Venizelos, had elections as we were loudly demanding, in order for us to form a government as we wanted to do, so we could screw up because screwup was certain" is an indictment on the quality of most of the opposition, nothing more.
Hah! Well, thanks for the clarification on that, regardless. I did find it a strange thing to say, considering Venizelos literally masterminded the Asia Minor War.

@Implied Good ,why I wrote to you in the first place is to learn why you hate Venizelos .I solved that and you seem to not calling him a clown anymore and in this last statement not even a traitor so I think my job here is done .I agree with your other points in general or I am not knowledgeable enough to disagree . I liked this discussions as most of them in this thread I have learn something.
Well, clown might be a strong word in retrospect, but he did commit treason, technically. It's just that, when you actually stop to think about it, the best way to describe the entire situation in this time period would be using one of those memes with the emoji with the sunglasses (overlaid with the old Greek flag, of course) that goes "when you stage a coup to counter another coup, only to end up inviting foreign powers into your homeland, so you end up splitting your nation into two in order to dump the popular King and in the end you end up being removed from power anyway in the next election, only for the King to be returned to power, only for the King to then be summarily kicked out of power and you put back into power, even as you lose the war because the King's Men are incompetent....... all within less than a decade."

..... Fuck, that's the first time I actually put it like that. Also, if someone does end up making that meme, don't quote me on the text, as I just haphazardly summarised the events, there.
 
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the best way to describe the entire situation in this time period would be using one of those memes with the emoji with the sunglasses (overlaid with the old Greek flag, of course) that goes "when you stage a coup to counter another coup, only to end up inviting foreign powers into your homeland, so you end up splitting your nation into two in order to dump the popular King and in the end you end up being removed from power anyway in the next election, only for the King to be returned to power, only for the King to then be summarily kicked out of power and you put back into power, even as you lose the war because the King's Men are incompetent....... all within less than a decade."

..... Fuck, that's the first time I actually put it like that. Also, if someone does end up making that meme, don't quote me on the text, as I just haphazardly summarised the events, there.
That description of how convoluted things were reminds me of the one for the Belgian Congo lmao
 
Hello, I just wanted to tell you that I love Reading your timeline, as a French History Student i could help you with everything about France if you need it. It's a wonderful timeline which helped me confine me during the coronavirus crisis. Thank you Very Much !
 
Hello, I just wanted to tell you that I love Reading your timeline, as a French History Student i could help you with everything about France if you need it. It's a wonderful timeline which helped me confine me during the coronavirus crisis. Thank you Very Much !
Thank you very much for your kind words Flosgon. I'll definitely take you up on your offer when the time comes.
 
Wonderful, i'll be glad to read it, is it about greece ?
Greece will appear briefly, but they won't be the main focus. This next update will be focusing primarily on the rivalry between Britain and Russia, Greece's role in that rivalry, and start of this timelines version of the Crimean War.
 
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Part 77: The Great Game
Part 77: The Great Game



The Middle East caught between the Bear and the Lion

Although it was the Ottoman Empire who officially ignited the Great Eurasian War with their declaration on the Russian Empire in May 1854; in truth it was their ally, Great Britain who had been the real instigator of the conflict. In the years that followed, British politicians would remark that their decision to fight the Russian Empire had been made to end their oppression of the Ottoman Empire and its subjects. However, in more recent years it has become increasingly clear that the British Government simply wished to strike a blow against the ascending Russian Empire whom they deemed a grave threat to their supremacy. The source of this animosity dates back several decades to the end of the Congress of Vienna as Tsarist Russia gradually supplanted France as the UK’s chief rival on the continent. For their part the Russians considered the British to be hypocrits who expanded wherever they wanted and plundered what it wished, but prevented any other powers from doing the same. As the years progressed, the rivalry between them would become more heated and intense as they struggled for dominance in Europe and Asia.

Of all the fronts in the feud between Britain and Russia, the Ottoman Empire was perhaps the most important given its strategic position straddling the Bosporus and the Dardanelles. With its possession of these narrow channels, the Sublime Porte could control access to or from the Black Sea for foreign ships who were often subject to the whims of the Porte. No country was more effected by this than the Russians who often found themselves at odds with the Turks throughout much of their history. By controlling the Bosporus Straights and the Dardanelles, the Ottomans could effectively cut off Russian access to the sea for much of the year as Russia's only warm water ports were located along the Black Sea. If the Straits were closed to Russian ships, the Ottomans could effectively cripple their economy as well as their ability to project power beyond their borders. Naturally, such a situation was unacceptable to St. Petersburg who made the resolution of this “Straits Question” one of their chief foreign policy concerns throughout the 19th Century.

For Great Britain, Russian dominance of the Turkish Straits would threaten their own interests in the Ottoman Empire and the Eastern Mediterranean, with whom they possessed a number of trade concessions and capitulations. Attempting to avert this takeover from happening, Westminster would overtly prop up the flagging Ottoman Empire as a bulwark against further Russian expansionism into the Balkans and Caucasia for much of the 1800’s. The British would be especially helpful to Constantinople during the First and Second Syrian Wars as they would successfully coerce Muhammed Ali of Egypt into making peace with the Sublime Porte through their generous use of gunboat diplomacy. They would also play a role, albeit a minor one in mediating the peace talks between Russia and Turkey during the Conference of Adrianople in 1829. Most prominently, however, they revealed an insidious plot by Tsar Nicholas and the Russian government to partition the Ottoman Empire between themselves and the British in the Spring of 1844.[1]

The only exception to this policy of Turcophilia would be the Greek War of Independence as the British people pressured their government into aiding the Greeks in their struggle for freedom alongside the Russians and the French. It was no secret that the British had entered this coalition unwillingly, but with Russia eying an invasion of the Ottoman Empire and mounting atrocities in Greece taking place, intervention was deemed a necessary evil by Westminster. Still, Prime Minister George Canning supported a negotiated solution that would see the establishment of a Greek state under the continued sovereignty of the Turks, comparable to that of Wallachia and Moldavia. Yet fate had another outcome in mind as the allied fleet sent to restore peace to the Aegean would instead come to blows with the Ottoman navy at Çeşme, annihilating it utterly. Angered by this duplicity, Sultan Mahmud II would break off all negotiations with the British, French and Russians and summarily closed the straits to Russian ships, providing St. Petersburg with the justification it needed to declare war on the Turks without British opposition.

Soon after, Russia would invade the Ottoman Empire sparking the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829 which would finally prompt the Porte to make peace with the Greeks. The Russians' intervention in favor of the Greeks was not a philanthropic act either as they sought to strike a mortal blow against the Turks, while also establishing the Greek state as their client in the Southern Balkans. They were aided in this effort by the election of the renowned statesman Ioannis Kapodistrias as Governor of Greece in 1826 who considered Russia to be Greece’s chief benefactor. Kapodistrias was famous for his extensive service as Russia’s Foreign Minister between 1813 and 1822 and had drafted most of the pretenses of defender of the Orthodox Christians which Russia now claimed for itself. With Kapodistrias in command of the Greek government, St. Petersburg believed that Greece would be a loyal ally of Russia, providing another front for the Turks to deal with in any future conflict with Russia.


Ioannis Kapodistrias during his time as Russian Foreign Minister

Only at this late hour, with Russian armies at the gates of Constantinople would the British Government finally come to accept the creation of an independent Greece as necessary, but it was clear that they had lost the initiative in the Balkans to Russia. Undeterred by this setback; Britain would shift tactics and began working to undermine the administration of Kapodistrias through the election of liberal, Western oriented politicians such as Alexandros Mavrokordatos and Spyridon Trikoupis to high office. Despite Kapodistrias’ earnest attempts to foster cordial relations with London, in their eyes he was nothing more than a Russian stooge who could not be trusted. Most importantly, the British Government would throw their weight behind the candidacy of Prince Leopold of Saxe Coburg and Gotha for the vacant Greek Throne during the 1830 Conference of London.

Then British Prime Minister George Canning believed that Leopold would be bound to Britain thanks to his close familial relation to Princess Alexandrina Victoria (future Queen Victoria) as well as a perceived sense of indebtedness he would have to Westminster for supporting his bid for the Greek Crown. Leopold was also a political neophyte with little experience governing or ruling and he held few connections outside Britain, which made many in London rightfully believe that he would be reliant upon them for support. Because of these ties to the United Kingdom, they believed that Leopold would serve as a counterbalance to Kapodistrias and the “Russian Party” in Greek politics and guide the nascent country into Britain’s orbit. Ironically, the Russians had no issue with Leopold’s candidacy for the Greek Crown as he was the former brother in law to Grand Duke Constantine and he enjoyed a strong rapport with Tsar Nicholas.

In the end, both Britain and Russia would find their efforts to subordinate Greece opposed by the very men they had considered their proxies. Leopold would prove to be surprisingly independent of London’s control, developing a strong rapport with Kapodistrias, and even tying himself to the House of Romanov through his marriage in 1832 to Princess Marie of Württemberg, a niece of Tsar Nicholas. The marriage of his eldest son, Prince Constantine to Grand Duchess Anna Mikhailovna (another niece of Tsar Nicholas) in 1853 would further strengthen these ties to St. Petersburg, increasing British concerns of growing Russian influence in Greece. Similarly, Ioannis Kapodistrias would chart a strikingly neutral course for Greece, making numerous diplomatic, economic and military arrangements with Britain and France over the course of his Premiership. He would also imitate British and French institutions when he reorganized the Greek Government in 1827 and he supported the establishment of a rather liberal Constitution in 1831. Finally, Kapodistrias made a point of refusing loans and payment for his past services from the Russian Government in order to mitigate concerns of his bias towards St. Petersburg.

Russia’s attempts to expand its influence elsewhere in the Balkans were similarly disappointed. Having failed to convince its allies of the Ottoman Empire’s imminent demise and the need to partition it before its lands and peoples fell into anarchy, Russia was forced to moderate its demands in the 1829 Treaty of Adrianople to appease British and French worries. Territorially, Russia would only take the Danube Delta for itself, choosing to focus much of its energy and resources on “freeing” their Orthodox brethren from Turkish oppression. To a degree they succeeded as Serbia was established as an autonomous Principality, albeit one still under the suzerainty of the Porte while the Principalities of Wallachia and Moldavia were made joint condominiums of Russia and the Ottoman Empire, although in truth they were largely under the influence of Russia.

In Transcaucasia, the Russian Empire would find more success, annexing the Ottoman Empire’s last remaining outposts North of the Caucasus Mountains (Anapa and Sujuk Kale). On the Southern side of the Mountains, the Russians would be also awarded sole suzerainty over the hitherto autonomous Georgian principalities of Kartli-Kakheti, Imereti, Mingrelia, and Guria who had previously played the Ottomans, the Persians, and the Russians off one another in order to retain their nominal independence. Their greatest gain, however, would be the annexation of Kars following the Russo-Turkish War of 1828-1829. Kars was a fortress city on the eastern edge of Anatolia which had long served as a vital bastion against the Porte’s enemies in the region. Now in Russian hands, Kars stood as a dagger pointed threateningly at the vulnerable frontier of Eastern Anatolia providing St. Petersburg with a certain degree of leverage over the Ottoman Empire who was now deprived of its greatest stronghold in the East.


The Fortress City of Kars

Although the Russians had enjoyed great success in the Caucasus and more moderate gains in the Balkans, their attempts to secure the Straits would fail completely. Following the Greek War of Independence, Ibrahim Pasha invaded Palestine, Lebanon, and Syria, conquering these lands in the name of his father Muhammad Ali, Khedive of Egypt. Emboldened by these successes, Ibrahim soon pushed into Anatolia, defeating an Ottoman army near Konya and threatening to march on Constantinople directly. Fearful of this, Sultan Mahmud II reached out to Britain, France, Austria and Prussia calling for aid against the Egyptians, but none answered him as they were all occupied with matters closer to home (the First Belgian Revolution and the Carbonari Revolt). Desperate to save his Empire from imminent collapse, Mahmud turned to his former adversary Russia for aid.

Tsar Nicholas immediately jumped at the opportunity, ordering Count Nesselrode (Kapodistrias’ successor as Russian Foreign Minister) to accept the Sultan’s request in return for several "minor" concessions. Faced with no other options, Sultan Mahmud II reluctantly accepted the Tsar’s terms and signed the Treaty of Hunkiar Iskelesi in mid-1832. Under this agreement, Russian warships were permitted through the Straits in return for Russian military aid against the Egyptians and Russia's guarantees of the Porte's territorial integrity. While this seemed reasonable enough on the surface, hiding within the treaty was a secret article which would have compelled the Turks to close the Straits to any Power that Russia so chose, effectively making the Straits Russian by proxy. With a single stroke of the pen, St. Petersburg had achieved all its ambitions in the Ottoman Empire, gaining a foothold on the Mediterranean and securing the door to Russia's soft underbelly.

Naturally, when Britain learned of this development (the details had been leaked to them by embittered Turkish diplomats in London), they began applying all the pressure they could muster upon Constantinople to make them retract their accord with St. Petersburg, promising support against Egypt if they did so. Ultimately, the Ottoman Government would be forced to comply when a squadron of the Royal Navy’s Mediterranean Fleet sailed into Beşik Bay and threatened to close the Hellespont.[2] Once an arrangement was made with the Porte, the British Government stayed true to its previous promises of aid against Egypt and sent their Levant Squadron to Alexandria and threatened Muhammad Ali Pasha with war if he did not make peace with the Porte, terms which he readily accepted.

The same could not be said of the Porte’s Russian “ally” who had marched an army 40,000 strong into Anatolia several months before as agreed upon in the Treaty of Hunkiar Iskelesi, only for it to then encamp near the Straits, securing it against a potential Egyptian assault. With the war effectively over and under pressure by the British to act, the Ottoman Government formally annulled the Treaty of Hunkiar Iskelesi in early 1833, less than a year after it was signed and called on the Russians to leave. For St. Petersburg, such treachery was tantamount to an act of war, and readied itself to invade. But when its allies, Austria and Prussia threw their support behind the British and Ottomans, the Russian Empire was forced to grit its teeth and begrudgingly bare the insult. Having come so close, only to have their ambitions thwarted so suddenly was a bitter pill to swallow for St. Petersburg, but it would only get worse as in 1837 as the Ottomans signed an extensive trade deal with Great Britain.
The Anglo-Ottoman Treaty removed all tariffs on British goods and abolished all trade monopolies in the Ottoman Empire, effectively turning the country into a Free Trade Zone. Without the protection of tariffs, the British quickly flooded the Empire with cheap British products. By 1850, the British had secured nearly a third of all trade in the Black Sea as Anatolia became one of Britain’s most lucrative export markets, behind only the Netherlands and Germany. For the Russians this was a disaster as British merchants now competed directly with Russian traders in Russia's Black Sea ports. What’s more, Russia’s monopoly on manufactured goods throughout Asia Minor was completely destroyed and in its place, the British firmly implanted themselves. The Greeks would also find significant success, cutting into Russia’s share of the Black Sea trade, channeling Russian cereals to demanding markets in the West. All of this greatly impoverished the Ukraine and reemphasized the importance of controlling the Straits in the eyes of St. Petersburg.

British Ships at the Port of Odessa

The other major front between Britain and Russia would be to the East in Central Asia. The region had long been a buffer between British India and Russian Siberia, but with the collapse of the Kazakh Khanate in the mid-18th Century, Central Asia gradually began to fall under the sway of St. Petersburg. The Khanate had long since fractured into three rival Hordes; the Great/Senior Horde, the Middle Horde, and the Lesser/Junior Horde all of which vied for supremacy over the others. Although they officially remained in confederation with one another against any outside threat, in truth, they would each call upon foreign parties to overcome their internal rivals in their fight for dominance. Russia would play a particularly prominent role in this feud with their first foray into Kazakh politics coming in 1731 when they backed the Junior Horde in their feud against the Middle and Senior Horde, effectively assuming the role of their protector and benefactor. The Middle Horde would submit in 1798 when it too came under attack by the Senior Horde. Finally, the Senior Horde would itself call upon Russia for protection when it was subject to a particularly brutal series of Uzbek raids in 1826.

The final end for the Kazakh Khanate would come during the late 1830’s and early to mid-1840’s as Britain, then distracted with their ongoing war with the Emirate of Afghanistan and later the Sikh Empire, presented Russia with an opportunity to finally do away with their unruly Kazakh “subjects”. Despite a spirited resistance on the part of the Great Horde, the Kazakhs were gradually subsumed by the Russian juggernaut. Ultimately, in 1847, the last Khan of the Kazakhs would be captured by the Russians and carted off to St. Petersburg where he would live out his remaining days in a gilded cage, while his lands and people were formally annexed into the Russian Empire.

The annexation of the Kazakh Khanate would be a particularly bitter development for the British Government who had recently begun fostering diplomatic and economic relations with the tribes of Central Asia in the hopes of establishing buffer states between British India and the Russian Empire. Thus, the conquest of the Kazakhs by the Russians represented the loss of a burgeoning trade partner by a much more antagonistic actor. More concerning, however, was the movement of the Russian border south of the Orenburg Line to the banks of the Syr Darya River, a distance of more than 1600 kilometers (or roughly 1,000 miles) in some parts.[3] This development would lead many prominent politicians in the British government to conclude that the conquest of the Kazakh Khanate was only the first step to a Russian invasion of India.

Fearing such a possibility, several members of the British Government along with other prolific Russophobes in British society began voicing their support for direct military intervention in the Great Polish Uprising in the Summer of 1848. Failing this, they began channeling arms, munitions, medical supplies, and cash to the Polish rebels through private means, aiding their efforts in disrupting Russian control over the region for the better part of two years. Despite their best efforts and intentions, their actions would backfire as the rebellion soon spread to neighboring Prussia and Austria, two states who were on much better terms with London. Moreover, the material and financial support provided to the Poles - while certainly extensive - was not nearly enough to defeat the Russians. Without foreign intervention the valorous Poles were eventually ground into submission by the massive Imperial Russian Army.

Britain’s Polish nightmare was not over, however, as the Russians soon crossed the border into Galicia-Lodomeria at the request of Vienna and subdued their own rebels as well. By 1851, the Great Polish Uprising had been quelled leaving hundreds of thousands of dead on both sides, hundreds of thousands more were displaced, and Russia emerged from the conflict stronger than before thanks to its occupation of Galicia-Lodomeria. Although the Austrian Government would continue to proclaim its sovereignty over Galicia-Lodomeria, the loss of the Kingdom of Hungary made such claims laughable at best and deluded at worst. In truth, the region had fallen under the sway of Russia and it was clear to all that they would not leave the province willingly. For the British, such an act was disastrous as it brought further credence to the belief that the Russian Empire was a rogue actor in global affairs whose expansion would only continue until checked by force of arms.


Russia ransacking Poland
These concerns were heightened the following year as a Russian Army invaded the Khivan Khanate in retaliation for an Uzbek raid into their territory. Although the damage inflict by the Russians was relatively minor, it reemphasized that Russia had no respect for the status quo and needed to be humbled before they grew to powerful. In the months following the Khivan invasion, the British extended their protection to Khiva and the other two states of Central Asia, the Emirate of Bukhara and the Kokand Khanate. In return for access to their markets, Britain agreed to supply them with arms and cash in preparation for what was believed to be an inevitable Russian invasion. Britain would also approach Russia’s neighbors discretely in the hopes of building a coalition of likeminded states against the burgeoning Russian threat. They would be sorely disappointed.

While relations between Vienna and St. Petersburg were not as strong as they had once been (owing in large part to the continued Russian occupation of Galicia-Lodomeria), Austria was still Russia’s ally by treaty and remained grateful for their assistance in the 1848 Revolutions. Moreover, they were in too poor a shape to declare war on anyone let alone the mighty Russian Empire following the disastrous 1848 Revolutions. Similarly, Prussia was quite exhausted itself having dealt with its own Polish Revolt and a war against France in the Low Countries. Looking elsewhere, the Kingdom of Hungary and the Italian Confederation, while certainly supportive of Britain’s opposition to Russian expansionism, they were still recovering from their wars with Austria and thus were in no condition to aid the British in their coalition at present. The Federal German Empire while seemingly powerful, was also a fractious mess with little central authority and many competing interests. Denmark was preoccupied with Holstein and Schleswig, Spain and Portugal were considered too distant and too weak to be of any real benefit to Britain in a conflict against Russia, and the Kingdom of Sweden-Norway was unwilling to join any coalition against Russia without significant foreign support. The French response would prove to be the greatest disappointment for London.

Although Emperor Napoleon II had taken power with British support in a relatively bloodless coup in 1849, he still found his rule challenged in many parts of the country, specifically in the South of France. An election in 1850, would see his ascension to the vacant French throne legitimized, but even still steadfast Republicans and Socialists continued to obstruct his efforts to govern for the next few years. Combined, with a fragile economy that had only just begun to recover after a prolonged recession, a terrible famine, and a brutal war with Prussia and the Netherlands; France was simply in no state right now to aid the British in a war against Russia. Moreover, France’s own interests of an autonomous Egypt and Levant ran counter to Britain’s goals of a strong and united Ottoman Empire. Napoleon II also had a personal qualm with fighting the Russians as Austria was still aligned with Russia, Napoleon II did not wish to strain relations with his mother's country by declaring war on its ally. Nevertheless, France recognized the threat posed by Russian expansionism and would tentatively support their British ally to the best of their ability, short of actually going to war with Russia.

Unable to find any willing partners in Europe at the moment, Britain was forced to look to the Middle East for potential allies against Russia. Despite the bad blood between them, the British Government would attempt to court the Qajari Government into making common cause with them against Russia, promising them the return of their Caucasian provinces and the forgiveness of their debts. However, the Persian Government would almost immediately decline, citing the recent death of Mohammed Shah Qajar and rampant economic turmoil within the country. While these were certainly factors, it is far more likely that the overwhelming Anglophobia within the Qajari Military made any such accommodation with the United Kingdom unpopular at best or suicidal at worst. While they would be disappointed by the Persian response, the British would find a much more willing partner in the neighbor, the Ottoman Empire who were perturbed by growing Russian interference in their internal affairs.

Under the terms of the 1774 Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji, the Russian Empire was awarded the right to construct a church for its citizens within the city of Constantinople, which was placed under the protection of the Russian state. Overtime, however, the Russian Empire would expand their interpretation of this article to include all Churches of the Russo-Greek rite within the Ottoman Empire and by extension, all the followers of that rite in the Ottoman Empire. This understanding of the Treaty of Kuchuk-Kainarji would play a deciding role in pushing Russia to intervene in the Greek War of Independence, establishing a dangerous precedent for Russian interference in Ottoman affairs. More recently, this would be exemplified yet again in 1848 when the Danubian Principalities protested against continued Turkish suzerainty over their countries.


The Signing of the Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji

Fearing another rebellion like that of the Greeks and the Serbians, the Sublime Porte immediately moved to quash the demonstrations before they became uncontrollable. Their response was swift and relatively bloodless, resulting in the imprisonment of several ring leaders and the occupation of several towns by Turkish soldiers. Russia would take notice of this, however, and immediately intervened stating its role as the joint suzerain of Wallachia and Moldavia and its status as the protector of the Orthodox community. A short stand off with the Ottoman Empire ensued, but with its benefactor Great Britain preoccupied with other matters in Belgium and Afghanistan, the Ottomans reluctantly submitted to Russian demands. The entire debacle had humiliated the Porte and sparked demands for revenge across the Ottoman Empire. Now with Britain ready and able to join them in their effort, they only needed a justification for their war and they would find it in the Treaty of Kuchuk Kainarji.

While the Russians touted themselves as the protectors of the Christians within the Ottoman Empire, the reverse was also true as the Ottoman Sultan Abdulmejid as the leader of the Islamic world, was in essence the protector of the Muslim communities in the Russian Empire. It just so happened that these Muslim communities now found themselves under increasing persecution by the Tsarist Government to leave their lands or submit to Russianization. In Ciscaucasia, large populations of Muslim Circassians, Chechens, and Dagestanis were often subject to intense discrimination and oppression, almost to the point of genocide as they were often forced out of their villages by Russian soldiers and sent into the mountains and forests to live in squalor and destitution.

As can be expected, many fought back against their Russian oppressors leading to a series of wars between the two that lasted for several decades. Despite their valor and a number of minor victories against the Russians, it was clear that they were fighting a losing battle and would need outside support if they were to survive. Attempts had been made in the past to call upon the Ottoman Empire for aid (in decades long since past they had been vassals of the Porte), but with Russia’s ascendancy and the loss of the Porte’s outposts north of the Caucasus Mountains, they had little means of directly supporting them in their fight. Now with promises of British military support, this problem was rectified, and the Porte could finally act upon these calls for aid.

By 1854, the situation was becoming critical forcing the Ottoman Government to issue an ultimatum to the Russian Government demanding it cease its oppression of the Circassian, Chechnyan, and Dagestani peoples. As expected, Russia refused and the the Sublime Porte received its casus belli. When prompted by Britain, they began to mobilize their troops and on the 8th of May 1854, the Ottoman Empire declared war on the Russian Empire followed soon after by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland. One of the bloodiest conflicts in the 19th Century had just begun.

Next Time: Battle in the Balkans, Clash in the Caucasus
[1] This is in fact based off of an event in OTL, in which Tsar Nicholas personally traveled to London to meet with Queen Victoria and make a deal with the British Government to divide the Ottoman Empire between them. Naturally, this plan failed, and Nicholas left London empty handed and embittered.
[2] Austria also sent ships, although it was primarily a British expedition to Alexandria.
[3] The Orenburg Line was a series of fortified settlements and forts along the Ural and Irtysh Rivers. It is more or less the same as the modern border between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Kazakhstan.
 
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That was a super interesting update. Having read the case for both sides, I now wonder if there's a chance that Britain, the Ottomans and the Russians could all somehow manage to lose :D
 
Well this doesn't look good for the House of Osman.
It depends on how you look at it. Some of the Tanzimat reforms have had more success ITTL and the Sublime Porte has been preparing for this war for several years now. Russia is also still recovering from the Great Polish Revolt, which only ended 2 years earlier. However, France not being an active participant in this war is a massive loss for the Ottomans ITTL. They will get some other allies to help make up for the lack of France, but overall the situation is definitely a net gain for Russia compared to OTL.

HUZZA IT'S BACK!!! AMAZING UPDATE
Thank you very much, I'm glad you enjoyed it!

That was a super interesting update. Having read the case for both sides, I now wonder if there's a chance that Britain, the Ottomans and the Russians could all somehow manage to lose :D
You've been reading my notes again, haven't you Dan?:evilsmile: Without spoiling too much, the outcome of this war will be quite different from OTL.
 
That was a super interesting update. Having read the case for both sides, I now wonder if there's a chance that Britain, the Ottomans and the Russians could all somehow manage to lose :D
You've been reading my notes again, haven't you Dan?:evilsmile: Without spoiling too much, the outcome of this war will be quite different from OTL.
I see a bloody stalemate after at least 2 years of war that leads to a peace treaty that gives both sides some gains in order to claim the war wasn't pointless but ultimately leaves everyone unsatisfied and itching for a rematch.
Meanwhile Leopold is signing in relief that he gained the Ionian islands (possibly more but I doubt it) without joining the absolute clusterf@%k the war becomes. I can see him getting a lot of flak from the Nationalists for "letting a prime opportunity slip by" but historians will probably see it for the wise decision it was.
 
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