International Public Opinion and the Bosnia Crisis

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Of the current total, no more than 20, are army infantry. The monument is stark and proud, a memorial not to triumphs in war but to success in trying to stop wars. Public disenchantment was heightened in December when Canadians were taken hostage for the first time by Bosnian Serbs. One soldier was held for 16 days. It is the first time there has been a political split over peacekeeping. Reform reflects a serious movement in public opinion. There is a diminishing support nationwide. Even the Liberals are torn. They would like to be a good ally, but they are confused.

Lewis MacKenzie, a Canadian military legend who recently retired after serving in 10 peacekeeping operations, agrees. So, we decided that peacekeeping is what we do best, and we do it better than anyone else. In addition, the government here contributed more than 1, soldiers in Croatia, making Canada the only country to operate in all three peacekeeping theaters in the former Yugoslav federation.


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Only France and Britain have more peacekeepers in the area. Besides the hostage-taking, Canadian politicians and military officers say they feel left out by their allies. The Bosnian population was already religiously divided into Muslims, Catholics and Orthodox Christians. Austria-Hungary exercised its rights, taking firm control of Bosnia-Herzegovina and jointly occupying the Sanjak of Novi Pazar together with the Ottoman Empire.

The Treaty of Berlin allowed for sole Austrian occupation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, but did not specify a final disposition of the provinces. This omission was addressed in the Three Emperors' League treaty of , where both Germany and Russia endorsed Austria's right to annex Bosnia-Herzegovina. The Russian Foreign Minister, Count Michael Muraviev, stated that an Austrian annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina would raise "an extensive question requiring special scrutiny".

Power shifted to elements widely interested in expansion into Bosnia. Relations between Serbia and Austria-Hungary gradually deteriorated. However, Russia's ability to support Serbia was greatly reduced following military humiliation in the Russo-Japanese War and the ensuing internal unrest. On 14 July Aehrenthal responded with guarded acceptance of the proposed discussions.

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The letter then went on to offer to discuss, as a separate matter, the Straits question, on a friendly basis. Aehrenthal proposed that should agreement on Bosnia-Herzegovina be reached, his Government would not — should the Russians subsequently propose to assert a right of their Black Sea fleet to both use and protect their access to the Mediterranean through the Bosporus — automatically decide with the other powers to support collectively the Ottoman Empire's opposition up to and including war to such a proposal.

No minutes were taken during these private meetings, which lasted a total of six hours.

Izvolsky accepted the responsibility to write up the conclusions of the meetings and forward them to Aehrenthal. On 21 September, Aehrenthal wrote to Izvolsky asking for this document, to which Izvolsky replied two days later that the document had been sent to the Czar for approval. This document, if it ever existed, has never been produced.

By Aehrenthal's account given by Albertini, Izvolsky agreed that Russia would maintain "a friendly and benevolent attitude" if Austria-Hungary were to annex Bosnia-Herzegovina. Reciprocally, should Russia move to open "the Straits to single ships of war", Austria-Hungary would maintain a benevolent attitude. The two agreed that a likely consequence of the annexation was that Bulgaria, which was de facto independent since , would declare its formal independence from the Ottoman Empire.

Austria-Hungary would offer no territorial concessions to Serbia or Montenegro, but if they supported the annexation then Austria-Hungary would not oppose Serbian expansion in the Balkans, and would support the Russian demand to revise Article 29 of the Treaty of Berlin which restricted Montenegrin sovereignty. The parties agreed that "these changes could receive sanction after negotiation with the Porte and the Powers", but "there would be no more talk of Bosnia-Herzegovina.

On 30 September, Austria-Hungary informed Izvolsky, who was in Paris at the time, that the annexation would take place on 7 October. Izvolsky stated that his position was that annexation was a matter to be settled between the signatories to the Treaty of Berlin. With the compensation of Austro-Hungarian withdrawal from the Sanjak of Novi Pazar, Russia would not consider the annexation as reason to go to war, but Russia and other governments would insist on changes to the Treaty favorable to themselves, including opening the Straits Russia's interest , Bulgarian independence, territorial concessions to Serbia, and abolition of restrictions on Montenegrin sovereignty under article On 6 October, the day after Bulgaria declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire, Emperor Franz Joseph announced to the people of this Ottoman territory that had been occupied by Austria for 30 years his determination to recognize and grant them an autonomous and constitutional regime, under his authority as their annexing sovereign.

Bulgarian independence and the Bosnian annexation were not covered by the Treaty of Berlin and set off a flurry of diplomatic protests and discussions. Serbia mobilized its army and on 7 October the Serbian Crown Council demanded that the annexation be reversed or, failing that, Serbia should receive compensation, which it defined on 25 October as a strip of land across the northernmost portion of the Sanjak of Novi Pazar. Serbia took control of the Sanjak after the Balkan wars.

The Ottoman Empire protested Bulgaria's declaration of independence with more vigor than the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, which it had no practical prospects of governing. A boycott of Austro-Hungarian goods and shops did occur, inflicting commercial losses of over ,, kronen on Austria-Hungary. On 26 February, Austria-Hungary settled the matter in a treaty. Austria-Hungary agreed to pay the Ottomans 2. The annexation and Bulgarian declaration were viewed as violations of the Treaty of Berlin. France, Britain, Russia and Italy therefore were in favor of a conference to consider the matter.

German opposition and complex diplomatic maneuvering as to the location, nature and preconditions of the conference delayed and ultimately scuttled it.

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Italy expected compensations in the areas of " Italia Irredenta " ruled by Austria-Hungary in exchange for its recognition of the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina, as was agreed upon in the Triple Alliance treaties with Austria-Hungary. However this did not happen and this became one of the reasons for Italy to break its alliance with Austria-Hungary in However, if, in the course of events, the maintenance of the status quo in the regions of the Balkans or of the Ottoman coasts and islands in the Adriatic and in the Aegean Sea should become impossible, and if, whether in consequence of the action of a third Power or otherwise, Austria-Hungary or Italy should find themselves under the necessity of modifying it by a temporary or permanent occupation on their part, this occupation shall take place only after a previous agreement between the two Powers, based upon the principle of a reciprocal compensation for every advantage, territorial or other, which each of them might obtain beyond the present status quo, and giving satisfaction to the interests and well founded claims of the two Parties.

British opposition to amending the Treaty of Berlin with respect to the Straits left Russia empty-handed and therefore Izvolsky and the Czar regarded the annexation and Aehrenthal's maneuvers as made in bad faith. Cognizant of Aehrenthal's rumored Jewish heritage, Izvolsky exploded, remarking "The dirty Jew has deceived me.

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International public opinion and the Bosnia crisis | Open Library

He lied to me, he bamboozled me, that frightful Jew. These documents were an embarrassment to Russia, especially with regard to its relations with Serbia. Czar Nicholas II wrote to Emperor Franz-Joseph and accused Austria-Hungary of betraying a confidence and relations between the two countries were permanently damaged. Under Germany's advice, Austria-Hungary kept in confidence the 2 July and 23 September correspondence from Izvolsky to Aehrenthal and these were a continued threat to Izvolsky's position if Russia did not firmly and publicly accept amendment of Article 25 of the Treaty of Berlin to accept the annexation.

On 22 March, Germany put Russia on the spot, demanding that Russia give a clear and unequivocal "yes" or "no" as to whether it committed to accept this amendment. Failure to give a positive reply would cause Germany to withdraw from the diplomatic discussions "and let things take their course".

The cabinet agreed. On 26 March, Austria-Hungary provided Britain with the negotiated text of Serbia's March declaration committing Serbia to accept the annexation. It ran:. Serbia recognizes that she has not been injured in her right by the fait accompli created in Bosnia-Herzegovina and that consequently she will conform to such decision as the Powers shall take in regard to Article 25 of the Treaty of Berlin. Submitting to the advice of the Great Powers, Serbia undertakes already now to abandon the attitude of protest and opposition which she has maintained in regard to the annexation since last autumn and undertakes further to change the course of her present policy towards Austria-Hungary to live henceforward with the latter on a footing of good-neighbourliness.

Conformable to these declarations and confident of the pacific intentions of Austria-Hungary, Serbia will reduce her army to the position of spring as regards its organization, its distribution and its effectives. She will disarm and disband her volunteers and bands and will prevent the formation of new units of irregulars on its territories. The next day Austria-Hungary asked for Britain's firm assurance that once the negotiations with Serbia were complete, Britain would accept the amendment of Article Without such assurance Austria-Hungary stated it would break off negotiations with Serbia.