Napoléon II Marshal Achille Baraguey d'Hilliers Queen Victoria Field Marshal FitzRoy Somerset President Bernhard II King Achille I Viceroy Auguste de Beauharnais King José II Alexander II Admiral Pavel Nakhimov Admiral Vasily Zavoyko Franz Joseph I Field Marshal Ferenc Gyulay
Abdülmecid I Field Marshal Omar Pasha Lieutenant General Abdülkerim Nadir Pasha Vice Admiral Patrona Osman Pasha
The Balkan War was a major European conflict fought from 16 April 1851 to 6 December 1854, in which the Ottoman Empire was defeated by a pan-European alliance led by Napoléon II's French Empire. It was the first major European war since the War of the Seventh Coalition, fought almost 40 years previously in 1815. It was the first major instance of "modern" or "total" warfare, as the telegraph, modern medicine, rifles, railroads, and explosive naval shells were all used on a widespread scale by all involved parties. Napoléon II, leader of the European coalition, hammered out an eventual but very costly Allied victory. The Ottomans, resurgent and growing once again in power and influence since the early 1830s, were contained. The Emperor of the French, who traveled alongside the French army and commanded it in several battles, would later die of tuberculosis, which he contracted during the war.
The war was the culmination of a series of diplomatic standoffs between the Ottoman Empire and various Western powers, the most prominent of which included Russia, France and Spain. Abdülmecid I, a diplomatically aggressive ruler, refused to back down over territorial disputes with the Russians in the Caucasus and over economic quarrels with the French and Spanish in the Mediterranean. After a French warship in Alexandria Harbor was fired upon and boarded and its crew captured (some of whom were executed), France quickly gathered together a coalition of European countries and declared war on the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans, alone in the conflict, fought staunchly for three and a half years before being soundly defeated. Despite the brutal and excessive nature of the war, the peace terms were surprisingly lenient, allowing the Ottoman Empire to continue its economic growth largely unmitigated following the conclusion of the war.