History Optional Paper-2 Solution – 2011: Q.6 (c)
Q.6 (c) “By 1914, the sick man of Europe was no longer just Turkey: it was Europe itself.” Explain. [20 Marks]
In 1853, in the run up to the Crimean War, Czar Nicholas I of Russia had said as that the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire was “a sick man—a very sick man”. The reason was: The Ottoman Empire was increasingly falling under the financial control of the European powers and had lost territory in a series of disastrous wars.
By 1914, once a powerful Ottoman Empire was crumbling and Turkey- a sick man of Europe, came to be popularly known as ‘the sick man of Europe’. Finally, the empire fell apart in 1922 and a number of smaller states such as Serbia, Bulgaria and Albania emerged along with the present-day Republic of Turkey.
By 1914, Europe was it sick because of the following reasons:
(1) By 1914, whole Europe was full of suspicion and secret treaties. No country knew about the real friends or foes. Armed race had made Europe a ticking bomb.
(2) Balance of power was crumbling. Balkan crisis, Moroccan crisis, all were sign of sickness in Europe which was on the brink of disaster through up coming the First World War.
(3) Just like Ottoman Empire was on the brink of crumbling due to inherent weakness, Europe was on the brink of a destructive war due to suspicion and breakdown in the balance of power.
(4) Not only peace was threatened in Europe, but also territorial integrity of many European countries.
(5) Just like Turkish Empire fell apart after the First World War, Europe was almost destroyed with huge loss of life and property after the First World War. The power of Europe erroded and first time the USA emerged as new power centre.
Hence, by 1914, the sick man of Europe was no longer just Turkey : it was Europe itself.
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