In this way the two confrontations developed at the beginning of the 20th century were known in which the countries that made up the Balkan League, that is, Serbia, Greece, Montenegro and Bulgaria decided to become independent from the Turkish empire. The objective was to eradicate from the territories of these nations any presence of the Ottoman government, so there was not only one war, but two. Balkan wars summary
In order to carry out such conflicts, the countries in question joined forces and made a series of pacts that would allow them to keep peace with each other, stop for a moment their ambitions and support each other by sending enough soldiers to defeat the enemy they had in common: the Ottoman Empire . Let’s talk a little more in detail about the well-known Balkan Wars .
Characteristics of the Balkan Wars
- They were marked by territorial ambition .
- The alliance between the populations that occupied the southeast of Europe , which united their armies to defeat a common enemy: the Ottomans.
- The disadvantage the Ottomans had in the wars . Its army numbered more than three hundred thousand soldiers, while the Balkan league numbered more than seven hundred thousand, practically doubling its forces.
- The means used to end the two wars were diplomatic treaties or agreements: the London treaty and the Bucharest treaty . Balkan wars summary
Causes of the Balkan Wars
The reasons the Balkan Wars were fought were as follows:
- The nationalist tendencies that were progressively undermining the nations that occupied the Balkan peninsula transformed a calm population into a conflictive one whose main goal was to completely eradicate the Ottoman rule.
- The influence of the Russian empire on the countries of the Balkan League since the beginning of the 20th century . This country in turn made an agreement with Italy to attack the Ottomans.
- The defeats suffered by the Turkish empire against different regions such as Libya, Dobruya, Rumelia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Thessaly, which manifested the weakness of the Ottomans .
- The alliance formed by Bulgaria and Greece in 1912 .
- Macedonia was under the control of the Ottomans , however, in 1912, Bulgaria requested the independence of this region.
- The declaration of war by Montenegro on Turkey . Despite being one of the smallest regions of those dominated by the Ottoman Empire, it took the initiative by not supporting the pressures to which its inhabitants were subjected because they did not join Islam. This step brought as a consequence that the other countries that were part of the Balkan league such as Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria supported his decision. Balkan wars summary
- The political disagreements between Greece and Bulgaria .
When and where did the Balkan wars take place?
The Balkan Wars took place between the years 1912 and 1913 . The first of them took place from October 1912 to May of the following year . During these eight months the countries that made up the Balkan League joined forces to fight against the Ottomans. For example, Bulgaria together with Serbia surrounded the Turkish army in the Edirne and Istanbul regions. Greece for its part attacked the population of Thessaloniki. On the other hand, Montenegro and Serbia worked together to besiege the city of Escútari. By the time 1913 began, the Ottoman forces had given way and the Treaty of London had to be signed in order to make a distribution of the territory won in the war between the four countries of the Balkan alliance. In this way the first Balkan war ended. Balkan wars summary
However, this territorial distribution was not accepted by all in a cordial way. Bulgaria turned out to be the creditor of the Macedonian land, which was the root of political tension. For this reason, the second Balkan War began, which lasted during the months of June and July 1913, date in which Greece and Serbia received the attack from Bulgaria without knowing that they were united with Romania and Montenegro, who also longed to have some extension of the Macedonian soil. In just two months, Bulgaria was forced to acknowledge that it had lost and ceded much of its territory and access to marine space. In order to end this war, the Treaty of Bucharest was carried out, which established the limits and territories that would become part of each nation.
- The Turkish army was completely banished from the Balkan territory .
- The territorial limits of the countries that were part of the Balkan League were definitively established .
- The low population left by the war in countries like Bulgaria, which only inhabited a total of almost three million people, of whom sixty-six thousand died in just a year and a half of conflicts and diseases. In addition, a large part of the members of the army who participated in the two rounds of war and were left alive lost a member of the body and had to live with limitations for the rest of their lives. Balkan wars summary
- Although at the end of the conflicts most of the countries that were part of the Balkan League ended up with a greater territorial extension, the economic balance of the war subjected them to a serious crisis. The fields had been abandoned, while the value of food rose dramatically due to shortages, causing hunger among the population .
- Turkey lost its leadership in European territory, which represented a loss of the extension of its space, but also in the number of citizens that made up its empire . At the time of ending both conflicts they only remained with the dominion of the population of Thrace.
- The shortage of weapons after the war resulted in the weakening of the defensive forces of the countries that participated in the Balkan Wars . Therefore, they were not well prepared for the wars to come.
- Albania, which represented a territory in claim, achieved its independence as an autonomous country .
- Although at the end of the fighting the Treaty of Bucharest was developed, Bulgaria was left with a thirst for revenge after being seized from a large part of Macedonian territory .