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The First Balkan War: 100 Years Later


08.10.2012 Branko Ilic , Serbian FBReporter

 

 

 

The First Balkan War, which lasted from October 1912 to May 1913,  pitted the Balkan League (Serbia, GreeceMontenegro and Bulgariaagainst the Ottoman Empire

 

The Balkans before the First Balkan War – 1905

 

On Oct. 8, 1912, the tiny Kingdom of Montenegro declared war on a weakened Ottoman Empire, kicking off what is now known as the First Balkan War. Three other Balkan states in league with the Montenegrins—Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia—rapidly followed suit, waging war on the Turks, the old imperial enemy, while drawing upon a wellspring of national sentiment in each of their homelands. By March 1913, their blood-soaked campaigns had effectively pushed the enfeebled Ottomans out of Europe.

 

Tensions among the Balkan states over their rival aspirations to the provinces of Ottoman-controlled Rumelia, namely Eastern Rumelia, Thrace and Macedonia, subsided somewhat following intervention by the Great Powers in the mid-19th century, aimed at securing both more complete protection for the provinces’ Christian majority and protection of the status quo. By 1867, Serbia and Montenegro had both secured their independence, which was confirmed by the Treaty of Berlin a decade later. But the question of the viability of Ottoman rule was revived after the Young Turk Revolution of July 1908, which compelled the Sultan to restore the suspended Ottoman constitution, and the significant developments in the years 1909–11

The First Balkans War : Serbian Artillery

The First Balkans War : Turkish guns abandoned at Kumanovo after the 11th Ocotber 1912 Battle.

Kratovo : During the First Balkans War, departure of the Serbian Army to Black Point.

Yet by July, Greece and Serbia would clash with Bulgaria in what’s known as the Second Balkan War—a bitter month-long struggle that saw more territory change hands, more villages razed and more bodies dumped into the earth. Some 200,000 soldiers died in less than a year, while countless civilians were slaughtered in pogroms or died of disease and starvation. The conflict, as arguedhere , in many senses set the tone for the future of war and ethnic strife in the 20th century.

 

 

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