DMPQ- Discuss how 1908 Bosnia crisis became provoking factor for first world war.

The Bosnian Crisis of 1908-09 was very much the precursor of the events in the Balkans that spilled over into the assassination of Franz Ferdinand at Sarajevo in June 1914. In this sense the Bosnian Crisis needs to be analysed within the same context as the assassination that was to trigger World War One.

The Bosnian Crisis was a very complicated issue that involved nine nations. In 1878, Austria-Hungary occupied Bosnia-Herzegovina with the agreement of the rest of Europe (Treaty of Berlin). Bosnia-Herzegovina were the two most northwesterly provinces of the Ottoman Empire. Austria-Hungary signed an agreement that the Sultan’s sovereignty over the area would be upheld but few expected Austria-Hungary to adhere to this. In fact, Austria-Hungary quickly made plans to annex the provinces. However, annexation had not been agreed at the Berlin meeting of Europe’s powers and the whole question remained dormant until after 1900.

If Austria-Hungary wanted to annex Bosnia-Herzegovina, she would have needed the full agreement of other European powers, especially Russia. In 1906, Austria-Hungary was generally experiencing problems among the people in the Balkans that it ruled over. The Austro-Hungarian Empire principally contained Croats, Slovenes, Serbians, Albanians and Macedonians and the whole issue of independence for these peoples reared its head.

Austria-Hungary had developed an inflated opinion as to her relative strength in Europe. Hawks in Berlin had witnessed what they deemed to be the weakness of Russia. In Russia itself, many believed that Izvolsky had humiliated the country and resolved that it would never happen again. Serbia was also in a position whereby she wanted revenge.

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