“King Winter Orders a Truce”

January 5, 1878

Frank Bellew

“King Winter Orders a Truce”

Wars, Russo-Turkish War;

No 'People' indexed for this cartoon.

Balkans; Russia; Turkey/Ottoman Empire;

No caption

The fortunes of war have often been dependent on the weather. This Harper’s Weekly cartoon by Frank Bellew depicts a truce in the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878 necessitated by belligerent winter weather, pictorially represented by the mythological King Winter. Russia and the Ottoman (or Turkish) Empire had fought a series of wars during the 17th-19th centuries which gradually allowed Russia to extend its territory southward. In 1877, in the last and most important of these wars, Russia and Serbia intervened militarily to support rebellions against Turkish rule in the Balkan regions of Bosnia, Herzegovina, and Bulgaria.

In March 1878, the victorious Russia and the defeated Turkey signed the Treaty of San Stefano, which recognized the independence of Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia, granted autonomy to Bosnia and Herzegovina, and put much of Bulgaria under Russian protection. The settlement was opposed, however, by Britain, Germany, and Austria-Hungary, which forced its revision in the Treaty of Berlin, signed on July 13, 1878. Under the terms of the new accord, Russia’s naval strength was checked, the Ottoman Empire remained a player in European politics, and Bosnia and Herzegovina were occupied by Austria-Hungary. The Treaty of Berlin provoked more discontent, and the Balkans continued to fester with bitter ethnic and national power struggles, as it does today.

Robert C. Kennedy

“King Winter Orders a Truce”
April 19, 2024

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