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1) the region is a gateway between Europe and Middle East, then onwards into Asia. It's a strategic location, and many countries (including the US) want control over the land routes.

2) the population is very diverse - muslims, catholics, orthodoxs, and their identity is based on cultural, rather than civic values.

All this adds to political instability pretty quickly.


In the 80-100 years before 1914 the whole area was simply gripped by nationalism - which is a highly inflamatory and unstable force.


The Ottoman Empire was in its last years so the countries saw this as a chance to get liberated and expand.


Furthermore the Russian Empire attempted to further weaken the Ottoman Empire and at the same time to stop the expansion of the Austrian Empire Eastward. So it elected itself as "protector" of little Slavonic Countries in the Balkans encouraging and backing in secret turmoils in that region. Its ultimate task was to gain a coastal outlet on the Mediterranean Sea.

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โˆ™ 2010-03-14 18:33:11
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Q: Why were the Balkans so politically unstable before World War 1 other than having so many cultures in a small area?
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