Disraeli and the Eastern Question
, Nov 4, 2010
- 339 pages
Benjamin Disraeli is primarily remembered as a two-time Prime Minister, founder of modern British Conservatism, and popular novelist. However, in the course of a few fateful years, he had a decisive influence on the history of the countries of the Balkan peninsula.
Like all British Prime Ministers in this period, Disraeli was forced to confront the Eastern Question: what to do about the political future of the Balkans and the Levant, as the Ottoman Empire began to implode. During the 'Eastern Crisis' of 1875 to 1878, Disraeli played a key role, in the end imposing his will on the rest of Europe at the Congress of Berlin.
It is a commonplace in biographies of Disraeli that his attitude to the East and the Eastern Question is essential for understanding his complex persona and the most crucial period of his career, yet until now this topic has not been researched in detail. Disraeli and the Eastern Question now fills this gap, providing the first complete reconstruction of Disraeli's attitudes towards the East and the Eastern Question as a whole, from his early youth onwards, and using a wide range of primary sources, from Disraeli's private papers, correspondence, and novels, the manuscript collections of Queen Victoria and the Prime Minister's closest associates, to the minutes of Parliamentary debates and the official correspondence of the Foreign Office, as well as Russian, Serbian, Bulgarian, and Albanian documents. Blending a biographical approach with the history of ideas, Milos Kovic analyses Disraeli's role in the Eastern Crisis, at the Congress of Berlin, and after, to provide a full intellectual biography of his attitudes to the Eastern Question and how these affected the history of international relations in the late nineteenth century.