Independent Albanian

Since an independent Albanian state had been set up as a result of the war, and Austria-Hungary had retained Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia did not receive her Adriatic outlet. Under this pretext, and because she had given her heavy artillery and a division to support the Bulgarian army in the siege of Adrianople, the Serbian government refused to withdraw its troops not only from the ‘debatable zone’ but also from territories in Macedonia which were indisputably Bulgarian. The Greeks also refused to withdraw from Southern Macedonia. With assistance from Russia, the Romanians received the Bulgarian town of Silistra in Southern Dobroudja as a compensation for the several thousands of Wallachians whom Bulgaria was to get in Macedonia. As a result of all this, Bulgaria, who had participated in the war with 350,000 men, that is, with 70,000 more than her allies (150,000 Serbians, 100,000 Greeks, 30,000 Montenegrins), who had acted in the main strategic direction (Constantinople), who had defeated the main forces of the Turks and had shed most of the blood, was supposed to receive far less than the other allies and to get reconciled to the fact that hundreds of thousands of its sons were to remain under foreign rule.

Instead of searching for realistic ways to have the just demands of the Bulgarian people satisfied, however, the bourgeois rulers of the country set out along a road of adventurism. On June 16, 1913, egged on by Austria- Hungary, King Ferdinand ordered the Bulgarian forces to chase away the Serbian and Greek troops from Macedonia.

Maritsa and Mesta

While the Bulgarian army was engaged in hostilities against its former allies, Romanian and Turkish troops invaded the country from the north and southeast, totally unimpeded. The Turks reached their former frontier with Bulgaria, while the Romanian vanguards had come to only 15 km from Sofia. This brought about the first national catastrophe in Bulgaria’s history. According to the peace treaties signed in Bucharest on July 28 and September 16, Serbia and Greece divided among themselves the greater part of Macedonia, Turkey received Adrianople Thrace back, and Romania was given Southern Dobroudja. Bulgaria was given the Pirin region and Aegean Thrace between the mouths of the rivers Maritsa and Mesta.

Still worse were the results from the First World War, in which Bulgaria got involved on the side of the Central Powers — Germany, Austria-Hungary and Turkey. The first military successes were followed immediately by exhaustion, hunger and dejection with the clearly apparent material supremacy of the enemy. The Bulgarian soldiers, who had been initially taken in by the noble idea that they would fight for the liberation of their enslaved brothers, fought bravely during the first year of the war, while during the following years they had to stay in the trenches and to go into attack hungry, dressed in rags and worried about the fate of their relatives who were living in dire poverty. In spite of severe reprisals and executions by the firing squads, the number of soldiers’ mutinies on the front was on the increase. Strongly influenced by the two revolutions in Russia in February and particularly the 1917 October Revolution, the revolutionary moods of the masses both on the front and in the rear were growing irresistibly. The propaganda of the Bulgarian revolutionary Marxists in the army against the war acquired enormous dimensions and soldiers’ revolutionary committees were set up after the example of Russia.

 

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