Balkan Wars

Balkan Wars
   Two wars fought principally over control of the Ottoman provinces in Macedonia and Thrace. The first, from October 1912 to May 1913, brought the states of the Balkan League, Bulgaria, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro, together into a military alliance against the Ottoman Empire with the goal of driving the Turks from Europe. In fall of 1911, Serbia and Bulgaria had first exchanged proposals and in March 1912 signed an agreement recognizing Bulgarian interest in Thrace and southern Macedonia and Serb interest in Kosovo and Albania but with no agreement on the final terms of partition of Macedonia. Taking advantage of Turkish weakness caused by the Italo-Turkish War of 1911–1912, Montenegro started the First Balkan War on October 8, 1912, and the other Balkan states jumped in. Bulgarian forces won a victory at Kirk-Kilisse in Thrace and the Serbs at Kumanovo in Macedonia, while Greece captured Salonika. Bulgarian forces reached the outskirts of Constantinople. The first war ended with the Treaty of London on May 30, 1913 under the terms that the Turks gave up all their European possessions west of the Enos-Media line. To block Serbia from reaching the sea coast, Austria-Hungary and Italy insisted that an independent Albanian state be created out of the lost Ottoman territory. These demands seriously limited the anticipated gains of Serbia and Greece, and consequently both states sought territorial compensation in Macedonia. Conflicting claims over Macedonia led to a second conflict between Bulgaria on one hand and Serbia and Greece on the other. Feeling deprived of most of the fruits of the war, Bulgaria attacked Serbia and Greece on June 29–30, 1913, starting the Second Balkan War. Montenegro immediately allied with the Serbs while Romania and the Ottomans also entered the fray against Bulgaria. Forced to fight on all sides, Bulgaria was defeated and the war ended with the Treaty of Bucharest on August 10, 1913, which confirmed Serbian and Greek gains in Macedonia, brought Crete and part of Epirus under Greek control, gave southern Dobrudja to Romania, and granted Bulgaria only a thin slice of Macedonia and a bit of the Aegean coastline. By the terms of the Treaty of Constantinople in October 1913 Bulgarian-Turkish hostilities ended with most of Eastern Thrace, including the city of Adrianople, reverting back to Turkish control. Serbia doubled in size, gaining the Kosovo region with its large Albanian Muslim population.
   See also <>; <>; <>; <>.
    Erickson, Edward J. Defeat in Detail: The Ottoman Army in the Balkans, 1912-1913. Westport: Praeger, 2003;
    Hall, Richard C. The Balkan Wars, 1912-1913: Prelude to the First World War. London: Routledge, 2000;
    Schurman, Jacob Gould. The Balkan Wars, 1912-1913. New York: Cosimo Classics, 2005.

Encyclopedia of the Age of Imperialism, 1800–1914. 2014.

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