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    STUDIA EUROPAEA - Issue no. 3 / 2006  

  Abstract:  One of the burning issues of European international relations in the 19th century was the so called “Eastern Question”. What was to become of the decaying Ottoman Empire It was closely connected to the problem of growth of national liberation movements throughout Europe- German and Italian unification and especially peoples of Hapsburg Monarchy. It culminated in the “Great Eastern Crisis” that was to lead to the Congress of Berlin in 1878. Throughout that turmoil, various official and unofficial plans have been devised regarding the re-composition of Europe. What they all had in common was their goal- to secure a lasting peace in Europe by keeping the delicate balance of powers intact. In this paper we are going to present some of these projects and analyse how they coped with aforementioned problems. The paper covers the 1860’s and 1870’s, the period in which majority and the most influential of these projects were put forward. First, the paper explains the broad notion of the Eastern question and gives an overview of the interest of the Great Powers in the region. All the projects for South East Europe Federation were essentially proposals of how this question can be solved on a federalist basis. On one hand they were product of their time, the time of great national resurrections and re-composition of the political map of Europe. On the other, they were the expression of the specific needs of the peoples concerned (South East Europeans). In many of these plans the wishes to identify ones own national liberation with those of bigger national movements (notably those of Germans and Italians) is evident. In some cases these were seen as role models and even potential allies. The authors of these projects include: Laios Kossuth (Hungarian revolutionary), Ilija Garašanin (father of Serbian foreign policy), Giuseppe Mazzini (Italian revolutionary), Vladimir Jovanović (one of the first Serbian liberals) etc. In the conclusion we see that none of the projects had any immediate effect. However their ideological legacy gave birth to many subsequent projects (e.g. Yugoslavia). More important than that, they represented the first attempt to settle national disputes of the South East European nations trough agreement along common interests. The ensuing conflicts in the Balkans showed all the advantages of this peaceful solution.  
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