The Second Stage: Abd-ul-Hamid.

This was the first stage in Ottoman history; the second, inevitable in a purely military state, was internal and external decay. The Empire was cut short by Austria, Russia and other foreign powers; the subject peoples began to win back their freedom by breaking away from under the Turkish yoke. A good government would have met these dangers by improving the conditions of the Empire. It would have tried to make the subject peoples contented, to give their capacities for development free play, to build of them a bulwark against outside enemies. But the Turkish government had not the imagination or the good will to adopt a policy like this. It had nothing but its military tradition of violence and cunning, and it tried to stave off the consequences of its own rottenness by making the subject peoples even weaker and more wretched than itself. This was the policy of Abd-ul-Hamid, who reigned from 1876 to 1908, and his method was to set one race against another. The Kurds were encouraged to massacre the Armenians; the Turkish soldiers were ordered to join in the massacre when the Armenians put up a resistance. The Bulgars were allowed to form armed bands to “Bulgarise” the villages of Macedonia, and the Greeks to form bands of their own to withstand them; the Macedonian peasants were harried by both parties, and if they harboured the bands to avoid incurring their vengeance, Turkish troops came up and burned the village for treason against the Ottoman State.

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