Ques: - “By 1914, the sick man of Europe was no longer just Turkey, it was Europe itself.” Explain.
Ans: - Either a man or a nation turns to be sick not simply because he is attacked by a disease, but also that he fails to give proper treatment to the disease. It happened in the case of Turkey earlier and then in the case of other European nations.
In the late medieval age, Turkey emerged to be a gigantic empire and it remained to be a scourge to the Christian powers of Europe. But later it declined as it could not modernize itself and in the 19th century, it was unable to face the challenge of modern nationalism. It failed to cope up challenges as it could not bring itself outside the boundary of medieval institutions. Finally, it could be recovered when surgery was successfully performed to it by Mustafa Kemal Pasha in the early twentieth century. On the other hand, European nations fell sick due to some other reasons. As the aftermath of massive industrialization, almost all the countries came to face the challenge of over-production as well as that of under-consumption. It gave birth to two related problems – the acute need for market and to avert the situation of class conflict at the domestic front. Therefore, under compulsions, they were compelled to take the following steps.
Firstly, to search market in new regions to make their products absorbed.
Secondly, they tried to divert the attention of the people from internal conflict (class struggle) to the external front.
Therefore, the policy of imperialist expansion was ruthlessly followed. It resulted in a collision among different powers. Thus, European nations were gradually drifting to the First World War, but they were quite unable to prevent it. It is in this sense that European nations fell sick.