When Doves Feed Hawks: Ottoman War Decision and European Powers Towards the Crimean War


When does the war party win in the decision-making process? Why does the peace party lose even if war is too risky? In this article, we show that certain balancing acts of the peace party might increase the confidence of the war party. We examine how the Ottoman Empire's risky Crimean War decision and its war declaration against Russia on 4 October 1853 were shaped by internal debating through time, foreign penetration, and dynamic interplay between the Ottoman decision makers and a changing European strategic environment. The large literature on the Crimean War does not include a systematic analysis of the Ottoman origins of the Crimean War and the Ottoman war decision. We trace the Ottoman decision-making process in the fateful months of 1853 to establish the origins of the Crimean War. We empirically demonstrate the gradual formation of the Porte's war decision by showing how the peace front stumbled upon war by inadvertently changing the decision structure in favor of the war party within a year.


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