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The Origins Of The War

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Chapter Summary

At the beginning of 1853, the Ottoman Empire was no longer a great power, despite contrary claims by Ottoman officialdom. Constant wars with Russia since 1768 and revolts throughout the empire from Serbia, Greece, and Egypt to Kurdistan had weakened the Ottoman state. In 1853, Emperor Nikolai I was probably the most powerful monarch in the world. He commanded the biggest land army of Europe. The army was indeed Nikolai's favourite agency, yet he "stressed unthinking obedience and parade ground evolutions rather than combat training". Nikolai sent to Istanbul a mission headed by Prince Aleksandr Sergeyevich Menshikov as ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary in order to press upon the Porte to arrange for a solution of the holy places. In 1853, European public opinion was definitely pro- Ottoman, because Russia was seen as the aggressor and the Ottoman Empire as the victim.

Keywords: Constant wars; Emperor Nikolai; European public opinion; holy places; Istanbul; Ottoman Empire; Prince Aleksandr Sergeyevich Menshikov



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