The Balkan Wars, 1912-1913: Prelude to the First World War

By Richard C. Hall | Go to book overview

1

BALKAN WAR ORIGINS

The Balkan Wars were a sharp and bloody series of conflicts fought in southeastern Europe during the autumn of 1912 and the winter, spring, and summer of 1913. In the First Balkan War, the Ottoman Empire fought a loose alliance of Balkan states, which included Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro, and Serbia. The First Balkan War began in October 1912. An armistice in December 1912 interrupted the fighting until January 1913. Fighting resumed around two besieged cities in Albania, one besieged city in Thrace, and in eastern Thrace until the spring of 1913. The participants in the First Balkan War signed a preliminary peace treaty in London on 30 May 1913.

In the Second Balkan War, Bulgaria fought a looser coalition of Greece, Montenegro, Serbia, Romania, and the Ottoman Empire. Fighting began on 29 June 1913. By the time it ended a little over a month later, the allies had overwhelmed Bulgaria. Peace treaties signed in Bucharest in August 1913 and Constantinople in September 1913 concluded the Second Balkan War. In less than one year the Balkans would again be at war.


Congress of Berlin

The concept of nationalism, appearing from France and the German countries, swept into the Balkan Peninsula early in the nineteenth century. The initial impact was largely cultural. Intellectuals made great efforts to standardize and celebrate the vernacular languages of the Balkans. In doing so, they frequently referred and connected to the medieval states that had existed in the Balkans before the Ottoman conquest.

Soon the emphasis of nationalism became political. A strong desire to achieve national unity motivated the Balkan states to confront their erstwhile Ottoman conquerors. Balkan leaders assumed that only after the attainment of national unity could their states develop and prosper. In this regard the Balkan peoples sought to emulate the political and economic success of western Europe, especially Germany, by adopting the western European concept of nationalism as the model for their own national development. The Balkan peoples perceived nationalism as a justification for the creation

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The Balkan Wars, 1912-1913: Prelude to the First World War
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Preface ix
  • 1 - Balkan War Origins 1
  • 2 - The First Balkan War 22
  • 3 - First Balkan War 45
  • 4 - The Armistice 69
  • 5 - Three Sieges 80
  • 6 - The Interbellum 97
  • 7 - Interallied War 107
  • 8 - Consequences and Conclusions 130
  • Notes 144
  • Works Cited 158
  • Index 168
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