Significance Of The Treaty Of Berlin
The Congress and Treaty of Berlin were significant more for their effects on the alignment of the Great Powers than for their efforts to settle the fate of Turkey. The Prime Minister of England, Disraeli, who was one of the British representatives at the Congress of Berlin along with the Foreign Minister, Lord Salisbury, counted it as one of his greatest achievements After the Congress, he made a triumphant return to England and boasted that he had obtained ‗peace with honour‘.
Many at that time considered the results of the Congress of Berlin as a fine diplomatic victory for England. He had prevented war, checked Russian expansion, safeguarded the navigation of the Straits and secured Cyprus. By the Treaty of Berlin Russia lost important advantages which she had secured by the Treaty of San Stefano and her influence in the Balkan Peninsula was weakened. The Russian plan to work through the Balkans directly over the ruins of Turkey or indirectly through vassal states carved out of Turkey to the Mediterranean was checked. However, Russia efforts to expand merely changed direction. After 1878 Russia made an attempt to extend her influence in Asia, towards the Far East in Manchuria and towards the South in Persia and Afghanistan.
The settlement, which openly violated the legitimate claims of Bulgarian nationality, had no element of permanence. The
separation of North and South Bulgaria lasted only till 1885 in which year the two regions were unified. Germany secured the gratitude and friendship of the Sultan of Turkey and gained a new and useful ally for the future. However, Russia, the member of the League of Three Emperors nursed a profound sense of grievance, against her Allies, Austria and Germany. Russia felt cheated at the Congress of Berlin. An alienated Russia withdrew from the League of Three Emperors. This forced Bismarck to enter into a closer alliance with Austria in 1879, which created a vicious circle of alliances which was ultimately responsible for the division of Europe into two rival armed camps.
The Pan-Slav Movement received a setback. The occupation of Bosnia, Herzegovina and Novi Bazar by Austria stood in the way of the creation of Greater Serbia including Bosnia, Herzegovina and Montenegro. This increased tension between Austria and Serbia. The enduring significance of the Treaty of Berlin is to be found in the new nations which were arising from the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. Pan-Slavism had failed to solve the problems of the Balkans, but nationalism which involved important modifications of the Treaty of Berlin proved more successful. Rumania became a kingdom in 1881 and Serbia in 1882. In 1908, Ferdinand was proclaimed as the Tsar of Bulgaria and in 1910 Nicholas became the first king of Montenegro.
It is important to note that the Treaty of Berlin forms a great landmark not only in the history of the Eastern Question, but also in the European history. According to Taylor, ―The Congress of Berlin made a watershed in the history of Europe. It had been preceded by thirty years of conflict and upheaval; it was followed by thirty-four years of peace. No European frontier was changed until 1913, not a shot was fired in Europe until 1912.