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First Balkan War  Ottoman Empire Support  Austria-Hungary

First Balkan War  Montenegro  Greece  Serbia  Bulgaria Support  Russian Empire

Second Balkan War  Bulgaria Second Balkan War  Montenegro  Greece  Serbia  Romania  Ottoman Empire

Commanders and leaders

Mehmed V Enver Pasha Nazım Pasha Zeki Pasha Essad Pasha  Kölemen Abdullah Pasha Ali Rıza Pasha Hasan Tahsin Pasha  İsmail Hakkı Pasha Rauf Pasha Nicholas I Prince Danilo Petrović Mitar Martinović Janko Vukotić Ferdinand I Mihail Savov Ivan Fichev Vasil Kutinchev Nikola Ivanov Radko Dimitriev Crown Prince Constantine Panagiotis Danglis Pavlos Kountouriotis Radomir Putnik Petar Bojović Stepa Stepanović Živojin Mišić Carol I Ferdinand I Alexandru Averescu

v t e

First Balkan War

Bulgarian front

Kardzhali Kirk Kilisse Lule Burgas Merhamli Kaliakra First Çatalca Bulair Şarköy Adrianople Second Çatalca

Serbian and Montenegrin front

Kumanovo Prilep Monastir Scutari

Greek front

Sarantaporo Yenidje Pente Pigadia Sorovich Himara Driskos Elli Korytsa Lemnos Bizani

v t e

Second Balkan War

Kilkis–Lachanas Doiran Bregalnica Knjaževac Pirot Vidin Danube Kalimanci Adrianople Kresna Gorge

Events leading to World War I

Triple Alliance 1882

Franco-Russian Alliance 1894

Anglo-German naval arms race 1898–1912

Venezuela Naval Blockade 1902–1903

Entente Cordiale 1904

Russo-Japanese War 1904–1905

First Moroccan Crisis 1905–1906

Anglo-Russian Entente 1907

Bosnian crisis 1908–1909

Agadir Crisis 1911

Italo-Turkish War 1911–1912

Balkan Wars 1912–1913

Assassination of Franz Ferdinand 1914

July Crisis 1914

v t e

The Balkan Wars
Balkan Wars
(Turkish: Balkan Savaşları, literally "the Balkan Wars" or Balkan Faciası, meaning "the Balkan Tragedy") consisted of two conflicts that took place in the Balkan Peninsula
Balkan Peninsula
in 1912 and 1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
in the first war; one of the four, Bulgaria, suffered defeat in the second war. The Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
lost the bulk of its territory in Europe. Austria-Hungary, although not a combatant, became relatively weaker as a much enlarged Serbia
Serbia
pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples.[1] The war set the stage for the Balkan crisis of 1914 and thus served as a "prelude to the First World War".[2] By the early 20th century, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia
Serbia
had achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire, but large elements of their ethnic populations remained under Ottoman rule. In 1912 these countries formed the Balkan League. The First Balkan War
First Balkan War
had three main causes:[3][2]

The Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
was unable to reform itself, govern satisfactorily, or deal with the rising ethnic nationalism of its diverse peoples. The Great Powers quarreled amongst themselves and failed to ensure that the Ottomans would carry out the needed reforms. This led the Balkan states to impose their own solution. Most importantly, the Balkan League
Balkan League
had been formed, and its members were confident that it could defeat the Turks.

The Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
lost all its European territories to the west of the River Maritsa
Maritsa
as a result of the two Balkan Wars, which thus delineated present-day Turkey's western border. A large influx of Turks started to flee into the Ottoman heartland from the lost lands. By 1914, the remaining core region of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
had experienced a population increase of around 2.5 million because of the flood of immigration from the Balkans. Citizens of Turkey regard the Balkan Wars
Balkan Wars
as a major disaster (Balkan harbi faciası) in the nation's history. The unexpected fall and sudden relinquishing of Turkish-dominated European territories created a psycho-traumatic event amongst many Turks that is said[by whom?] to have triggered the ultimate collapse of the empire itself within five years. Nazım Pasha, Chief of Staff of the Ottoman Army, was held responsible for the failure and was assassinated on 23 January 1913 during the 1913 Ottoman coup d'état.[4] The First Balkan War
First Balkan War
began when the League member states attacked the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
on 8 October 1912 and ended eight months later with the signing of the Treaty of London on 30 May 1913. The Second Balkan War began on 16 June 1913. Both Serbia
Serbia
and Greece, utilizing the argument that the war had been prolonged, repudiated important particulars of the pre-war treaty and retained occupation of all the conquered districts in their possession, which were to be divided according to specific predefined boundaries. Seeing the treaty as trampled, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
was dissatisfied over the division of the spoils in Macedonia (made in secret by its former allies, Serbia
Serbia
and Greece) and commenced military action against them. The more numerous combined Serbian and Greek armies repelled the Bulgarian offensive and counter-attacked into Bulgaria
Bulgaria
from the west and the south. Romania, having taken no part in the conflict, had intact armies to strike with, invaded Bulgaria
Bulgaria
from the north in violation of a peace treaty between the two states. The Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
also attacked Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and advanced in Thrace
Thrace
regaining Adrianople. In the resulting Treaty of Bucharest, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
lost most of the territories it had gained in the First Balkan War in addition to being forced to cede the ex-Ottoman south-third of Dobroudja province to Romania.[5]

Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Britain attempting to keep the lid on the simmering cauldron of imperialist and nationalist tensions in the Balkans
Balkans
to prevent a general European war. They were successful in 1912 and 1913 but did not succeed in 1914.

Nazım Pasha, the chief of staff of the Ottoman army, was assassinated by Young Turks
Young Turks
due to his failure.

Contents

1 Background

1.1 Policies of the Great Powers 1.2 Young Turk Revolution 1.3 Reaction in the Balkan States 1.4 Balkan League

2 First Balkan War 3 Second Balkan War 4 Reactions among the Great Powers during the wars 5 Aftermath 6 All Balkan War conflicts

6.1 First Balkan War
First Balkan War
conflicts

6.1.1 Bulgarian-Ottoman battles 6.1.2 Greek–Ottoman battles 6.1.3 Serbian–Ottoman battles

6.2 Second Balkan War
Second Balkan War
conflicts

6.2.1 Bulgarian–Greek battles 6.2.2 Bulgarian–Serbian battles 6.2.3 Bulgarian–Ottoman battles 6.2.4 Bulgarian–Romanian battles

7 See also 8 Notes 9 Further reading 10 External links

Background[edit] See also: Rise of nationalism under the Ottoman Empire The background to the wars lies in the incomplete emergence of nation-states on the European territory of the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
during the second half of the 19th century. Serbia
Serbia
had gained substantial territory during the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878, while Greece acquired Thessaly
Thessaly
in 1881 (although it lost a small area back to the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
in 1897) and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
(an autonomous principality since 1878) incorporated the formerly distinct province of Eastern Rumelia (1885). All three countries, as well as Montenegro, sought additional territories within the large Ottoman-ruled region known as Rumelia, comprising Eastern Rumelia, Albania, Macedonia, and Thrace. Policies of the Great Powers[edit] Throughout the 19th century, the Great Powers shared different aims over the "Eastern Question" and the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. Russia
Russia
wanted access to the "warm waters" of the Mediterranean
Mediterranean
from the Black Sea; it pursued a pan-Slavic foreign policy and therefore supported Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and Serbia. Britain wished to deny Russia
Russia
access to the "warm waters" and supported the integrity of the Ottoman Empire, although it also supported a limited expansion of Greece as a backup plan in case integrity of the Empire was no longer possible. France wished to strengthen its position in the region, especially in the Levant
Levant
(today's Lebanon, Syria, the Palestinian territories
Palestinian territories
and Israel). Habsburg-ruled Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
wished for a continuation of the existence of the Ottoman Empire, since both were troubled multinational entities and thus the collapse of the one might weaken the other. The Habsburgs also saw a strong Ottoman presence in the area as a counterweight to the Serbian nationalistic call to their own Serb subjects in Bosnia, Vojvodina and other parts of the empire. Italy, primary aim at the time seems to have been the denial of access to the Adriatic Sea
Adriatic Sea
to another major sea power. The German Empire, in turn, under the "Drang nach Osten" policy, aspired to turn the Ottoman Empire into its own de facto colony, and thus supported its integrity. In the late 19th and early 20th century, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and Greece contended for Ottoman Macedonia and Thrace. Ethnic Greeks sought the forced "Hellenization" of ethnic Bulgars, who sought "Bulgarization" of Greeks (Rise of nationalism). Both nations sent armed irregulars into Ottoman territory to protect and assist their ethnic kindred. From 1904, there was low intensity warfare in Macedonia between the Greek and Bulgarian bands and the Ottoman army (the Struggle for Macedonia). After the Young Turk revolution of July 1908, the situation changed drastically. Young Turk Revolution[edit] Main article: Young Turk Revolution The 1908 Young Turk Revolution
Young Turk Revolution
saw the reinstatement of constitutional monarchy in the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
and the start of the Second Constitutional Era. When the revolt broke out, it was supported by intellectuals, the army, and almost all the ethnic minorities of the Empire, and forced Sultan Abdul Hamid II
Abdul Hamid II
to re-adopt the long defunct Ottoman constitution of 1876
Ottoman constitution of 1876
and parliament. Hopes were raised among the Balkan ethnicities of reforms and autonomy, and elections were held to form a representative, multi-ethnic, Ottoman parliament. However, following the Sultan's attempted counter-coup, the liberal element of the Young Turks
Young Turks
was sidelined and the nationalist element became dominant. At the same time, in October 1908, Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
seized the opportunity of the Ottoman political upheaval to annex the de jure Ottoman province of Bosnia
Bosnia
and Herzegovina, which it had occupied since 1878 (see Bosnian Crisis). Bulgaria
Bulgaria
declared independence as it had done in 1878, but this time the independence was internationally recognised. The Greeks of the autonomous Cretan State
Cretan State
proclaimed unification with Greece, though the opposition of the Great Powers prevented the latter action from taking practical effect. It has large influence in the consequent world order. Reaction in the Balkan States[edit] Serbia
Serbia
was frustrated in the north by Austria-Hungary's incorporation of Bosnia. In March 1909, Serbia
Serbia
was forced to accept the annexation and restrain anti- Habsburg
Habsburg
agitation by Serbian nationalists. Instead, the Serbian government (PM: Nikola Pašić) looked to formerly Serb territories in the south, notably "Old Serbia" (the Sanjak of Novi Pazar and the province of Kosovo). On 15 August 1909, the Military League, a group of Greek officers, took action against the government to reform their country's national government and reorganize the army. The Military League
Military League
found itself unable to create a new political system, until the League summoned the Cretan politician Eleutherios Venizelos
Eleutherios Venizelos
to Athens as its political adviser. Venizelos persuaded king George I to revise the constitution and asked the League to disband in favor of a National Assembly. In March 1910, the Military League
Military League
dissolved itself.[6] Bulgaria, which had secured Ottoman recognition of her independence in April 1909 and enjoyed the friendship of Russia,[7] also looked to annex districts of Ottoman Thrace
Thrace
and Macedonia. In August 1910, Montenegro followed Bulgaria's precedent by becoming a kingdom. Balkan League[edit] Main article: Balkan League

Bulgarian forces waiting to start their assault on Adrianople

Following Italy's victory in the Italo-Turkish War
Italo-Turkish War
of 1911–1912, the Young Turks
Young Turks
fell from power after a coup. The Balkan countries saw this as an opportunity to attack the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
and fulfill their desires of expansion. With the initial encouragement of Russian agents, a series of agreements was concluded between Serbia
Serbia
and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
in March 1912. Military victory against the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
would not be possible while it could bring reinforcements from Asia. The condition of the Ottoman railways of the time was not advanced, so most reinforcements would have to come by sea through the Aegean Sea. Greece was the only Balkan country with a navy powerful enough to deny use of the Aegean to the Ottoman Empire, thus a treaty between Greece and Bulgaria became necessary; it was signed in May 1912. Montenegro concluded agreements between Serbia
Serbia
and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
later that year. Bulgaria
Bulgaria
signed treaties with Serbia
Serbia
to divide the territory of northern Macedonia. This alliance between Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro became known as the Balkan League; its existence was undesirable for all the Great Powers. The League was loose at best, though secret liaison officers were exchanged between the Greek and the Serbian army after the war began. Greece delayed the start of the war several times in the summer of 1912, to better prepare her navy, but Montenegro declared war on 8 October (25 September O.S.). Following an ultimatum to the Ottoman Empire, the remaining members of the alliance entered the conflict on 17 October. First Balkan War[edit] Main article: First Balkan War

Territorial changes as a result of the First Balkan war, as of April 1913 showing the prewar agreed line of expansion between Serbia
Serbia
and Bulgaria

The apple of discord: King George I of Greece
George I of Greece
and Tsar Ferdinand of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
at Thessaloniki, December 1912. Despite their alliance, Greco-Bulgarian antagonism over the city and Macedonia in general did not abate.

The three Slavic allies (Bulgaria, Serbia
Serbia
and Montenegro) had laid out extensive plans to coordinate their war efforts, in continuation of their secret prewar settlements and under close Russian supervision (Greece was not included). Serbia
Serbia
and Montenegro would attack in the theater of Sandjak, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and Serbia
Serbia
in Macedonia and Thrace. The Ottoman Empire's situation was difficult. Its population of about 26 million people provided a massive pool of manpower, but three quarters of the population and nearly all of the Muslim component lived in the Asian part of the Empire. Reinforcements had to come from Asia mainly by sea, which depended on the result of battles between the Turkish and Greek navies in the Aegean. With the outbreak of the war, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
activated three Army HQs: the Thracian HQ in Constantinople, the Western HQ in Salonika, and the Vardar HQ in Skopje, against the Bulgarians, the Greeks and the Serbians respectively. Most of their available forces were allocated to these fronts. Smaller independent units were allocated elsewhere, mostly around heavily fortified cities. Montenegro was the first that declared war on 8 October[2] (25 September O.S.). Its main thrust was towards Shkodra, with secondary operations in the Novi Pazar
Novi Pazar
area. The rest of the Allies, after giving a common ultimatum, declared war a week later. Bulgaria attacked towards Eastern Thrace, being stopped only at the outskirts of Constantinople
Constantinople
at the Çatalca
Çatalca
line and the isthmus of the Gallipoli peninsula, while secondary forces captured Western Thrace and Eastern Macedonia. Serbia
Serbia
attacked south towards Skopje
Skopje
and Monastir and then turned west to present-day Albania, reaching the Adriatic, while a second Army captured Kosovo
Kosovo
and linked with the Montenegrin forces. Greece's main forces attacked from Thessaly
Thessaly
into Macedonia through the Sarantaporo
Sarantaporo
strait and after capturing Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
on 12 November (on 26 October 1912, O.S.) expanded its occupied area and linked up with the Serbian army to the northwest, while its main forces turned east towards Kavala, reaching the Bulgarians. Another Greek army attacked into Epirus
Epirus
towards Ioannina.[8] On the naval front, the Ottoman fleet twice exited the Dardanelles
Dardanelles
and was twice defeated by the Greek Navy, in the battles of Elli and Lemnos. Greek dominance on the Aegean Sea
Aegean Sea
made it impossible for the Ottomans to transfer the planned troops from the Middle East to the Thracian (against the Bulgarian) and to the Macedonian (against the Greeks and Serbians) fronts.[9] According to E.J. Erickson the Greek Navy also played a crucial, albeit indirect role, in the Thracian campaign by neutralizing no less than three Thracian Corps (see First Balkan War, the Bulgarian theater of operations), a significant portion of the Ottoman Army
Ottoman Army
there, in the all-important opening round of the war.[9] After the defeating of the Ottoman fleet the Greek Navy was also free to liberate the islands of the Aegean. General Nikola Ivanov identified the activity of the Greek Navy
Greek Navy
as the chief factor in the general success of the allies.[9][10] In January, after a successful coup by young army officers, the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
decided to continue the war. After a failed Ottoman counter-attack in the Western-Thracian front, Bulgarian forces, with the help of the Serbian Army, managed to conquer Adrianople, while Greek forces managed to take Ioannina
Ioannina
after defeating the Ottomans in the battle of Bizani. In the joint Serbian-Montenegrin theater of operation, the Montenegrin army besieged and captured the Shkodra, ending the Ottoman presence in Europe west of the Çatalca
Çatalca
line after nearly 500 years. The war ended officially with the Treaty of London on 30(17) May 1913. Second Balkan War[edit] Main article: Second Balkan War

Cholera
Cholera
was common among the soldiers of the combatant nations

Boundaries on the Balkans
Balkans
after the First and the Second Balkan War (1912–1913)

Though the Balkan allies had fought together against the common enemy, that was not enough to overcome their mutual rivalries. In the original document for the Balkans
Balkans
league, Serbia
Serbia
promised Bulgaria most of Macedonia. But before the first war come to an end, Serbia
Serbia
(in violation of the previous agreement) and Greece revealed their plan to keep possession of the territories that their forces had occupied. This act prompted the tsar of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
to invade his allies. The Second Balkan War
Second Balkan War
broke out on 29(16) June 1913 when Bulgaria
Bulgaria
attacked its erstwhile allies in the First Balkan War, Serbia
Serbia
and Greece, while Montenegro and the Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
intervened later against Bulgaria, with Romania
Romania
attacking Bulgaria
Bulgaria
from the north. When the Greek army entered Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
in the First Balkan War
First Balkan War
ahead of the Bulgarian 7th division by only a day, they were asked to allow a Bulgarian battalion to enter the city. Greece accepted in exchange for allowing a Greek unit to enter the city of Serres. The Bulgarian unit that entered Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
turned out to be a 18,000-strong division instead of the battalion, something which caused concern among the Greeks, who viewed it as a Bulgarian attempt to establish a condominium over the city. In the event, due to the urgently needed reinforcements in the Thracian front, Bulgarian Headquarters was soon forced to remove its troops from the city (while the Greeks agreed by mutual treaty to remove their units based in Serres) and transport them to Dedeağaç (modern Alexandroupolis), but still it left behind a battalion that started fortifying its positions. Greece had also allowed the Bulgarians to control the stretch of the Thessaloniki- Constantinople
Constantinople
railroad that lay in Greek-occupied territory, since Bulgaria
Bulgaria
controlled the largest part of this railroad towards Thrace. After the end of the operations in Thrace—and confirming Greek concerns— Bulgaria
Bulgaria
was not satisfied with the territory it controlled in Macedonia and immediately asked Greece to relinquish its control over Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
and the land north of Pieria, effectively handing over all Aegean Macedonia. These unacceptable demands, together with the Bulgarian refusal to demobilize its army after the Treaty of London had ended the common war against the Ottomans, alarmed Greece, which decided to also maintain its army's mobilization. Similarly, in northern Macedonia, the tension between Serbia
Serbia
and Bulgaria
Bulgaria
due to later aspirations over Vardar Macedonia
Vardar Macedonia
generated many incidents between the nearby armies, prompting Serbia
Serbia
to maintain its army's mobilization. Serbia
Serbia
and Greece proposed that each of the three countries reduce its army by one fourth, as a first step to facilitate a peaceful solution, but Bulgaria
Bulgaria
rejected it. Seeing the omens, Greece and Serbia
Serbia
started a series of negotiations and signed a treaty on 1 June(19 May) 1913. With this treaty, a mutual border was agreed between the two countries, together with an agreement for mutual military and diplomatic support in case of a Bulgarian or/and Austro-Hungarian attack. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia, being well informed, tried to stop the upcoming conflict on 8 June, by sending an identical personal message to the Kings of Bulgaria
Bulgaria
and Serbia, offering to act as arbitrator according to the provisions of the 1912 Serbo-Bulgarian treaty. But Bulgaria, by making the acceptance of Russian arbitration conditional, in effect denied any discussion and caused Russia
Russia
to repudiate its alliance with Bulgaria
Bulgaria
(see Russo-Bulgarian military convention signed 31 May 1902). The Serbs and the Greeks had a military advantage on the eve of the war because their armies confronted comparatively weak Ottoman forces in the First Balkan War
First Balkan War
and suffered relatively light casualties[11], while the Bulgarians were involved in heavy fighting in Thrace. The Serbs and Greeks had time to fortify their positions in Macedonia. The Bulgarians also held some advantages, controlling internal communication and supply lines.[11] On 29(16) June 1913, General Savov, under direct orders of Tsar Ferdinand I, issued attacking orders against both Greece and Serbia without consulting the Bulgarian government and without any official declaration of war.[12] During the night of 30(17) June 1913, they attacked the Serbian army at Bregalnica river and then the Greek army in Nigrita. The Serbian army resisted the sudden night attack, while most of soldiers did not even know who they were fighting with, as Bulgarian camps were located next to Serbs and were considered allies. Montenegro's forces were just a few kilometers away and also rushed to the battle. The Bulgarian attack was halted. The Greek army was also successful.[11] It retreated according to plan for two days while Thessaloniki
Thessaloniki
was cleared of the remaining Bulgarian regiment. Then, the Greek army counter-attacked and defeated the Bulgarians at Kilkis (Kukush), after which the mostly Bulgarian town was destroyed and its population expelled. Following the capture of Kilkis, the Greek army's pace was not quick enough to prevent the destruction of Nigrita, Serres, and Doxato
Doxato
and massacres of non-combatant Greek inhabitants at Sidirokastro
Sidirokastro
and Doxato
Doxato
by the Bulgarian army.[13] The Greek army then divided its forces and advanced in two directions. Part proceeded east and occupied Western Thrace. The rest of the Greek army advanced up to the Struma River valley, defeating the Bulgarian army in the battles of Doiran and Mt. Beles, and continued its advance to the north towards Sofia. In the Kresna straits, the Greeks were ambushed by the Bulgarian 2nd and 1st Army newly arrived from the Serbian front that had already taken defensive positions there following the Bulgarian victory at Kalimanci. By 30 July, the Greek army was outnumbered by the counter-attacking Bulgarian army, which attempted to encircle the Greeks in a Cannae-type battle, by applying pressure on their flanks.[14] The Greek army was exhausted and faced logistical difficulties. The battle was continued for 11 days, between 29 July and 9 August over 20 km of a maze of forests and mountains with no conclusion. The Greek King, seeing that the units he fought were from the Serbian front, tried to convince the Serbs to renew their attack, as the front ahead of them was now thinner, but the Serbs rejected it. By then, news came of the Romanian advance toward Sofia
Sofia
and its imminent fall. Facing the danger of encirclement, Constantine realized that his army could no longer continue hostilities, agreed to Eleftherios Venizelos' proposal and accepted the Bulgarian request for armistice as this had been communicated through Romania. Romania
Romania
had raised an army and declared war on Bulgaria
Bulgaria
on 10 July(27 June) as it had from 28(15) June officially warned Bulgaria
Bulgaria
that it would not remain neutral in a new Balkan war, due to Bulgaria's refusal to cede the fortress of Silistra as promised before the First Balkan war in exchange for Romanian neutrality. Its forces encountered little resistance and by the time the Greeks accepted the Bulgarian request for armistice they had reached Vrazhdebna, 7 miles from the center of Sofia. Seeing the military position of the Bulgarian army the Ottomans decided to intervene. They attacked and finding no opposition, managed to recover eastern Thrace
Thrace
with its fortified city of Adrianople, regaining an area in Europe which was only slightly larger than the present-day European territory of the Republic of Turkey. Reactions among the Great Powers during the wars[edit]

Tirana
Tirana
Bazaar
Bazaar
at the turn of the 20th century.

The developments that led to the First Balkan War
First Balkan War
did not go unnoticed by the Great Powers, but although there was an official consensus between the European Powers over the territorial integrity of the Ottoman Empire, which led to a stern warning to the Balkan states, unofficially each of them took a different diplomatic approach due to their conflicting interests in the area. As a result, any possible preventive effect of the common official warning was cancelled by the mixed unofficial signals, and failed to prevent or to stop the war:

Russia
Russia
was a prime mover in the establishment of the Balkan League
Balkan League
and saw it as an essential tool in case of a future war against its rival, the Austro-Hungarian Empire.[15] But it was unaware of the Bulgarian plans over Thrace
Thrace
and Constantinople, territories on which it had long-held ambitions, and on which it had just secured a secret agreement of expansion from its allies France and Britain, as a reward for participating in the upcoming Great War against the Central Powers. France, not feeling ready for a war against Germany in 1912, took a totally negative position against the war, firmly informing its ally Russia
Russia
that it would not take part in a potential conflict between Russia
Russia
and Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
if it resulted from the actions of the Balkan League. The French, however, failed to achieve British participation in a common intervention to stop the Balkan conflict. The British Empire, although officially a staunch supporter of the Ottoman Empire's integrity, took secret diplomatic steps encouraging Greek entry into the League in order to counteract Russian influence. At the same time, it encouraged Bulgarian aspirations over Thrace, preferring a Bulgarian Thrace
Thrace
to a Russian one, despite the assurances the British had given to the Russians in regard to their expansion there. Austria-Hungary, struggling for a port on the Adriatic
Adriatic
and seeking ways for expansion in the south at the expense of the Ottoman Empire, was totally opposed to any other nation's expansion in the area. At the same time, the Habsburg
Habsburg
empire had its own internal problems with significant Slav populations that campaigned against German-Hungarian control of the multinational state. Serbia, whose aspirations in the direction of Austrian-held Bosnia
Bosnia
were no secret, was considered an enemy and the main tool of Russian machinations that were behind the agitation of Austria's Slav subjects. But Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
failed to secure German backup for a firm reaction. Initially, Emperor Wilhelm II told the Archduke Franz Ferdinand that Germany was ready to support Austria in all circumstances—even at the risk of a world war, but the Austro-Hungarians hesitated. Finally, in the German Imperial War Council of 8 December 1912 the consensus was that Germany would not be ready for war until at least mid-1914 and passed notes to that effect to the Habsburgs. Consequently, no actions could be taken when the Serbs acceded to the Austrian ultimatum of 18 October and withdrew from Albania. Germany, already heavily involved in internal Ottoman politics, officially opposed a war against the Empire. But, in her effort to win Bulgaria
Bulgaria
for the Central Powers, and seeing the inevitability of Ottoman disintegration, was toying with the idea of replacing the Balkan area of the Ottomans with a friendly Greater Bulgaria
Bulgaria
in her San Stefano borders—an idea that was based on the German origin of the Bulgarian King and his anti-Russian sentiments.

The Second Balkan war was a catastrophic blow to Russian policies in the Balkans, which for centuries had focused on access to the "warm seas". First, it marked the end of the Balkan League, a vital arm of the Russian system of defense against Austria-Hungary. Second, the clearly pro-Serbian position Russia
Russia
had been forced to take in the conflict, mainly due to Bulgaria's uncompromising aggressiveness, caused a permanent break-up between the two countries. Accordingly, Bulgaria
Bulgaria
reverted its policy to one closer to the Central Powers' understanding over an anti-Serbian front, due to its new national aspirations, now expressed mainly against Serbia. As a result, Serbia was isolated militarily against its rival Austria-Hungary, a development that eventually doomed Serbia
Serbia
in the coming war a year later. But, most damaging, the new situation effectively trapped Russian foreign policy: After 1913, Russia
Russia
could not afford losing its last ally in this crucial area and thus had no alternatives but to unconditionally support Serbia
Serbia
when the crisis between Serbia
Serbia
and Austria broke out in 1914. This was a position that inevitably drew her, although unwillingly, into a World War with devastating results for her, since she was less prepared (both militarily and socially) for that event than any other Great Power. Austria-Hungary
Austria-Hungary
took alarm at the great increase in Serbia's territory at the expense of its national aspirations in the region, as well as Serbia's rising status, especially to Austria-Hungary's Slavic populations. This concern was shared by Germany, which saw Serbia
Serbia
as a satellite of Russia. This contributed significantly to the two Central Powers' willingness to go to war as soon as possible. Finally, when a Serbian backed organization assassinated the heir of the Austro-Hungarian throne, causing the 1914 July Crisis, no-one could stop the conflict and the First World War
First World War
broke out. Aftermath[edit] Soviet demographer Boris Urlanis estimated in Voini I Narodo-Nacelenie Europi (1960) that in the first and second Balkan wars there were 122,000 killed in action, 20,000 dead of wounds, and 82,000 dead of disease.

Captured Turkish cannons by the Serbian army, displayed in front of a church in Kumanovo, 1912

All Balkan War conflicts[edit] First Balkan War
First Balkan War
conflicts[edit] Bulgarian-Ottoman battles[edit]

Battle Year   Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Commander   Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
Commander Result

Battle of Kardzhali 1912 Vasil Delov Mehmed Pasha Bulgarian Victory

Battle of Kirk Kilisse 1912 Radko Dimitriev Mahmut Pasha Bulgarian Victory

Battle of Lule Burgas 1912 Radko Dimitriev Abdullah Pasha Bulgarian Victory

Battle of Merhamli 1912 Nikola Genev Mehmed Pasha Bulgarian Victory

Naval Battle of Kaliakra 1912 Dimitar Dobrev Hüseyin Bey Bulgarian Victory

First Battle of Çatalca 1912 Radko Dimitriev Nazim Pasha Ottoman Victory

Battle of Bulair 1913 Georgi Todorov Fethi Bey Bulgarian Victory

Battle of Şarköy 1913 Stiliyan Kovachev Enver Pasha Bulgarian Victory

Siege of Adrianople 1913 Georgi Vazov Gazi Pasha Bulgarian Victory

Second Battle of Çatalca 1913 Vasil Kutinchev Ahmet Pasha Indecisive

Greek–Ottoman battles[edit]

Battle Year  Greece Commander   Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
Commander Result

Battle of Sarantaporo 1912 Constantine I Hasan Pasha Greek Victory

Battle of Yenidje 1912 Constantine I Hasan Pasha Greek Victory

Battle of Pente Pigadia 1912 Sapountzakis Esat Pasha Greek Victory

Battle of Sorovich 1912 Matthaiopoulos Hasan Pasha Ottoman Victory

Revolt of Himara 1912 Sapountzakis Esat Pasha Greek Victory

Battle of Dryskos 1912 Matthaiopoulos Esat Pasha Ottoman Victory

Battle of Elli 1912 Kountouriotis Remzi Bey Greek Victory

Capture of Korytsa 1912 Damianos Davit Pasha Greek Victory

Battle of Lemnos 1913 Kountouriotis Remzi Bey Greek Victory

Battle of Bizani 1913 Constantine I Esat Pasha Greek Victory

Serbian–Ottoman battles[edit]

Battle Year   Serbia
Serbia
Commander   Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
Commander Result

Battle of Kumanovo 1912 Radomir Putnik Zeki Pasha Serbian Victory

Battle of Prilep 1912 Petar Bojović Zeki Pasha Serbian Victory

Battle of Bitola 1912 Petar Bojović Zeki Pasha Serbian Victory

Battle of Monastir 1912 Petar Bojović Zeki Pasha Serbian Victory

Siege of Scutari 1913 Nikola I Hasan Pasha Status quo ante

Siege of Adrianople 1913 Stepa Stepanovic Gazi Pasha Serbian Victory

Second Balkan War
Second Balkan War
conflicts[edit] Bulgarian–Greek battles[edit]

Battle Year   Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Commander  Greece Commander Result

Battle of Kilkis-Lahanas 1913 Nikola Ivanov Constantine I Greek Victory

Battle of Doiran 1913 Nikola Ivanov Constantine I Greek Victory

Battle of Demir Hisar 1913 Nikola Ivanov Constantine I Bulgarian Victory

Truce of Kresna Gorge 1913 Mihail Savov Constantine I Indecisive

Bulgarian–Serbian battles[edit]

Battle Date   Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Commander   Serbia
Serbia
Commander Result

Battle of Bregalnica 30 June–9 July 1913 Mihail Savov Radomir Putnik Serbian victory

Battle of Knjaževac 4–7 July 1913 Vasil Kutinchev Vukoman Aračić Bulgarian victory

Battle of Pirot 6–8 July 1913

Božidar Janković Serbian victory

Battle of Belogradchik 8 July 1913

Serbian victory

Siege of Vidin 12–18 July 1913 Krastyu Marinov Vukoman Aračić Armistice

Battle of Kalimanci 18–19 July 1913 Mihail Savov Božidar Janković Bulgarian victory

Bulgarian–Ottoman battles[edit]

Battle Year   Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Commander   Ottoman Empire
Ottoman Empire
Commander Result

Second Battle of Adrianople 1913 Mihail Savov Enver Pasha First Armistice

Ottoman Advance of Thrace 1913 Vulko Velchev Ahmed Pasha Final Armistice

Bulgarian–Romanian battles[edit]

Battle Year   Bulgaria
Bulgaria
Commander   Romania
Romania
Commander Result

Romanian Occupation of Dobruja 1913 Ferdinand I Carol I of Romania First Armistice

Romanian South Western Advance 1913 Ferdinand I Carol I of Romania Final Armistice

See also[edit]

International relations (1814–1919)

Since the area has been referred to as the Balkans, notable conflicts have included the following:

The Ottoman wars in Europe The Serbo-Bulgarian War
Serbo-Bulgarian War
(1885) The Albanian Revolt of 1910 The Albanian Revolt of 1912 The Balkans
Balkans
Campaign (World War I) The Balkans
Balkans
Campaign (World War II) The Yugoslav Wars
Yugoslav Wars
(1991–1999) Destruction of the Thracian Bulgarians in 1913 List of places burned during the Balkan Wars

Notes[edit]

^ Clark 2013, pp. 45, 559. ^ a b c Hall 2000. ^ Helmreich 1938. ^ The Wars before the Great War ISBN 978-1-107-06347-1 p. 70 ^ Winston Churchill (1931). The World Crisis, 1911–1918. p. 278.  ^ "Military League", Encyclopædia Britannica Online ^ "THE BALKAN WARS". US Library of Congress. 2007. Retrieved 15 April 2008.  ^ Balkan Wars
Balkan Wars
Encyclopædia Britannica Online. ^ a b c Erickson 2003, p. 333. ^ Hall 2000, p. 65. ^ a b c Hall 2000, p. 117. ^ George Phillipov (Winter 1995). "THE MACEDONIAN ENIGMA". Magazine: Australia &World Affairs,. Archived from the original on 20 April 2008. Retrieved 15 April 2008.  ^ Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars, published by the Endowment Washington, D.C. 1914, p. 97-99 pp.79–95 ^ Hall 2000, p. 121. ^ Stowell, Ellery Cory (2009). The Diplomacy Of The War Of 1914: The Beginnings Of The War (1915). Kessinger Publishing, LLC. p. 94. ISBN 978-1-104-48758-4. 

Further reading[edit]

Bataković, Dušan T., ed. (2005). Histoire du peuple serbe [History of the Serbian People] (in French). Lausanne: L’Age d’Homme.  Boeckh, Katrin; Rutar, Sabina (2017). The Balkan Wars
Balkan Wars
from Contemporary Perception to Historic Memory. Springer. ISBN 978-3-319-44641-7.  Ćirković, Sima (2004). The Serbs. Malden: Blackwell Publishing.  Clark, Christopher (2013). "Balkan Entanglements". The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914. HarperCollins. ISBN 978-0-06-219922-5.  Crampton, R. J. (1980). The hollow detente: Anglo-German relations in the Balkans, 1911-1914. G. Prior. ISBN 978-0-391-02159-4.  Erickson, Edward J.; Bush, Brighton C. (2003). Defeat in Detail: The Ottoman Army
Ottoman Army
in the Balkans, 1912–1913. Greenwood Publishing Group. ISBN 0-275-97888-5.  Hall, Richard C. (2000). The Balkan Wars, 1912–1913: Prelude to the First World War
First World War
(1st ed.). Routledge. ISBN 0-415-22946-4.  Helmreich, Ernst Christian (1938). The Diplomacy of the Balkan Wars, 1912-1913. Harvard University Press.  Jelavich, Barbara (1983). History of the Balkans: Twentieth Century. 2. Cambridge University Press.  Király, Béla K.; Rothenberg, Gunther E. (1987). War and Society in East Central Europe: East Central European Society and the Balkan Wars. Brooklyn College Press. ISBN 978-0-88033-099-2.  MacMillan, Margaret (2013). "The First Balkan Wars". The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914. Random House Publishing Group. ISBN 978-0-8129-9470-4.  Meyer, Alfred (1913). Der Balkankrieg, 1912-13: Unter Benutzung zuverlässiger Quellen kulturgeschichtlich und militärisch dargestellt. Vossische Buchhandlung.  Popović, Dimitrije; Bataković, Dušan T.; Popović, Bogdan Lj. (1993). Balkanski ratovi 1912/1913. Srpska književna zadruga.  Rossos, Andrew (1981). Russia
Russia
and the Balkans: inter-Balkan rivalries and Russian foreign policy, 1908-1914. University of Toronto Press.  Rudić, Srđan; Milkić, Miljan (2013). Balkanski ratovi 1912-1913: Nova viđenja i tumačenja [The Balkan Wars
Balkan Wars
1912/1913: New Viеws and Interpretations]. Istorijski institut, Institut za strategijska istrazivanja. ISBN 978-86-7743-103-7.  Schurman, Jacob Gould (1914). The Balkan Wars
Balkan Wars
1912–1913 (1st ed.). Princeton University.  Army History Directorate (Greece) (1998). A concise history of the Balkan Wars, 1912-1913. Army History Directorate. ISBN 978-960-7897-07-7. 

External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Balkan Wars.

U.S. State Department. "The Formation of the Balkan Alliance of 1912" (1918) Project Gutenberg's The Balkan Wars: 1912–1913, by Jacob Gould Schurman US Library of Congress
US Library of Congress
in the Balkan Wars The Balkan crises, 1903–1914.] Balkan Wars
Balkan Wars
from a Turkish perspective Wikisource: The New Student's Reference Work/The Balkans
Balkans
and the Peace of Europe Historic films about the Balkan Wars
Balkan Wars
at europeanfilmgateway.eu

v t e

Balkan Wars

Background

Nationalism in the Ottoman Empire

Albanian Bulgarian Greek Serbian

Congress of Berlin Annexation of Eastern Rumelia Serbo-Bulgarian War Greco-Turkish War (1897) Cretan State IMRO & Ilinden–Preobrazhenie Uprising Macedonian Struggle Young Turk Revolution Bosnian crisis Bulgarian Independence 31 March Incident Goudi coup Italo-Turkish War Albanian revolt of 1912 Balkan League

First Balkan War

Battles

Sarantaporo Kardzhali Pente Pigadia Sorovich Kumanovo Kirk Kilisse Scutari Lule Burgas Yenidje Adrianople Prilep Himara Monastir First Çatalca Kaliakra Merhamli Driskos Elli Korytsa Lemnos Bulair Şarköy Bizani Second Çatalca

Diplomacy and politics

London Conference Albanian Independence 1913 Ottoman coup d'état Treaty of London

Second Balkan War

Battles

Kilkis–Lachanas Doiran Bregalnica Knjaževac Kalimanci Kresna Gorge Vidin Pirot

Diplomacy and politics

Greek–Serbian Alliance Provisional Government of Western Thrace Treaty of Bucharest Treaty of Constantinople Treaty of Athens

General

Aftermath

Autonomy of Northern Epirus Greco-Turkish crisis of 1914 Sarajevo Assassination and World War I Ottoman–Bulgarian alliance Balkans
Balkans
Campaign of WWI

Serbian Campaign Macedonian Front

Atrocities

Carnegie Commission Massacres of Albanians Initial phase of the Greek genocide Places burned down

Participants

Bulgaria

Ferdinand I Ivan Geshov Stoyan Danev Mihail Savov Ivan Fichev Vasil Kutinchev Nikola Ivanov Radko Dimitriev Stiliyan Kovachev Georgi Todorov

Greece

George I Constantine I Eleftherios Venizelos Panagiotis Danglis Pavlos Kountouriotis Konstantinos Sapountzakis Viktor Dousmanis

Montenegro

Nicholas I Crown Prince Danilo Janko Vukotić

Ottoman Empire

Mehmed V Nazim Pasha Zeki Pasha Esad Pasha Kölemen Abdullah Pasha Ali Rıza Pasha Hasan Tahsin Pasha Enver Bey Ahmed Izzet Pasha

Romania

Carol I Crown Prince Ferdinand Alexandru Averescu

Serbia

Peter I Crown Prince Alexander Radomir Putnik Petar Bojović Stepa Stepanović Božidar Janković

Other Balkan states: Albania
Albania
(Ismail Qemali)

Category

v t e

Diplomacy of the Great Powers 1871–1913

Great powers

Austria–Hungary France Germany Italy Japan Russia United Kingdom United States

Alliances

Triple Alliance

Dual Alliance

Triple Entente

Franco-Russian Alliance Entente Cordiale Anglo-Russian Entente

Anglo-Japanese Alliance

Trends

Ottoman Decline

Eastern Question

Revanchism New Imperialism

Scramble for Africa

Pan-Slavism The Great Game The Great Rapprochement

Treaties and agreements

Treaty of Frankfurt League of the Three Emperors Treaty of Berlin Reinsurance Treaty Treaty of Paris Treaty of Björkö Taft–Katsura Agreement Japan–Korea Treaty of 1905 Japan–Korea Annexation Treaty Racconigi agreement

Events

Congress of Berlin Berlin Conference Weltpolitik German Naval Laws Anglo-German naval arms race

Dreadnought

Fashoda Incident Annexation of Hawaii First Moroccan Crisis Algeciras Conference Agadir Crisis Bosnian crisis

Wars

Russo-Turkish First Sino-Japanese Spanish–American Banana Wars Philippine–American Boxer Rebellion Second Boer Russo-Japanese Italo-Turkish Balkan Wars

Authority control

N

.