In the 1870's "The Eastern Question" split Britain into two camps as no other subject of foreign policy had done. The controversy became centered around the figures of two political titans, Benjamin Disraeli and William Gladstone, and forced immediate policy decisions and eventually a redefinition of British imperialism.
Professor Seton-Watson examines the public agitation in England over the Turkish massacres known as "the Bulgarian atrocities" and shows how diplomacy and party politics interacted, altering Britain's traditional policy toward the Turkish Empire. He discusses the Conference of the Powers in 1876, the purposes of the Russian-Turkish war, and the results of the Treaty of San Stefano. He gives an illuminating account of the territorial settlements made at the Congress of Berlin and their effect on the shape of Europe, and offers evidence that from the perspective of later events the triumph belonged not to Disraeli, but to Gladstone.
R. W. Seton-Watson has long been recognized as one of the foremost authorities in the field of Eastern European history, and Disraeli, Gladstone and the Eastern Question is the definitive study of the subject. Drawing on previously unpublished Russian diplomatic correspondence, contemporary accounts, and British diplomatic papers, he has examined the course of events from all sides, frequently allowing the protagonists' own words to reveal their motives and bring out the drama of the narrative.