Reichstadt Agreement

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Schloß Reichstadt, Lithograph 1853

The Reichstadt agreement was an agreement made between Austria-Hungary and Russia in July 1876, who were at that time in an alliance with each other and Germany in the League of the Three Emperors, or Dreikaiserbund. Present were the Russian and Austro-Hungarian emperors together with their foreign ministers, Prince Gorchakov of Russia and Count Andrassy of Austria-Hungary. The closed meeting took place on July 8 in the Bohemian city of Reichstadt (now Zákupy). They agreed on a common approach to the solution of the Eastern question, due to the unrest in the Ottoman Empire and the interests of the two major powers in the Balkans. They discussed the likely Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878, its possible outcomes and what should happen under each scenario.

The later Budapest Convention of 1877 confirmed the main points, but when the war concluded with the Treaty of San Stefano in 1878, the terms of the treaty were quite different leading to Austrian insistence on convening a revision at the Congress of Berlin later that year. These events laid the background for the subsequent Bulgarian Crisis of 1885-1888, and ultimately World War I. [1] [2] [3] [4]

Format[edit]

The negotiations took place in a private and almost informal setting. It is significant that the results of the meeting were not written down, so that the Austrian and Russian view of what was agreed on differed significantly. There was neither a signed formal convention nor even a signed protocol. The minutes were dictated separately by both Andrassy and by Gorchakov suggesting that neither side really trusted the other side. The extent of agreed Austrian annexation in Bosnia and Herzegovina has remained controversial. It was these inconsistencies that necessitated further discussions at the Constantinople Conference and the subsequent Budapest Convention, though these largely confirmed or amended the Reichstadt discussions.

Terms of the agreement[edit]

The Balkan Christians would gain a measure of independence.

Austria would allow Russia to make gains in Bessarabia and the Caucasus.

Russia would allow Austria to gain Bosnia.

Implications[edit]

This effectively meant that Austria was assuring Russia that to stay out of a war between Russia and the Ottoman Empire. It also meant that the Austrians and the Russians were agreeing on how the Balkans would be split up in the case of a Russian victory.

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