The Congress of Berlin was an international peace conference convened by the European great powers in Berlin, Germany in June and July 1878. Following the recent conclusion of the Russo-Turkish War of 1877, the Congress of Berlin aimed to divide the perennial no-man's-land of Europe, the Balkans, along lines more reflective of the then-current balance of power. The ultimate effect of the Congress was effectively to reverse Russia's territorial gains during the war, returning some seized territory to the Ottoman Empire (present-day Turkey). In addition, Serbia, Romania, and Montenegro were granted their independence. The territorial and state alterations were intended to check Russian expansion and the growth of the pan-Slavic movement, which argued that ethnically Slavic peoples (in Russia and the Balkans) should be united under a single flag. - The Russo-Turkish War -
The Russian and Ottoman empires fought quite a number of conflicts during the 18th and 19th centuries. However, the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 was an attempt by Russia to take advantage of changing European geopolitical conditions. During the countries' previous major conflict, the Crimean War, the "concert" or coalition of European great powers which had prevented major war and upheld the status quo since the 1815 Congress of Vienna had been shattered. Moreover, although Prussia (and then unified Germany) was on the rise to the west, to Russia's south, the once-powerful Ottoman Empire was in terminal decline. As revolts against Turkish rule occurred in the Balkans, the Russian government sensed an opportunity to seize the conflict-prone region for itself. Neither the Russian nor the Turkish military was a leading armed force in 1877, and the result was a war of frequent strategic and tactical blunders on both sides. Ultimately, however, the Russian forces generally prevailed. In early 1878, it even seemed that the Russians would march on the Turkish capital of Constantinople (now Istanbul)...
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