Balkan Wars


The Balkan Wars!


The Balkan Wars were a set of wars going on in southeastern Europe in the early 1900s.  The Balkan League (Bulgaria, Montenegro, Greece, and Serbia) were fighting the Ottoman controlled territories of Macedonia, Albania, and Thrace.  The Balkan Wars lasted from October 8, 1912 until July 18, 1913.




One of the main things that got the ball rolling wit hthe Balkan Wars was the "Young Turk" Revolution in October of 1908.  This revolt was backed by the intelectual people, the army, and all of the minority groups in the empire.  They tried to force the Ottoman Sultan to revert back to the Ottoman policies from the Ottoman Constitution from 1877.  The Young Turks and all of their supporters hoped for a multi-racial parliament that had been used in the past.  At about the same time, the state of Bulgaria and Bosnia-Herzegovina officially declared themselves a separate and independent nation from the Ottoman Empire.  The Young Turks feel from power with Italy's defeat of the Ottomans in the Italo-Turkish Wars in 1911.  A year later in 1912, Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria, and Montenegro all signed a peace treaty with each other making their alliance called the Balkan League.

(This picture was taken during the first and initial stages of the Balkan Wars while it was just getting started.)



The first of the two Balkan Wars was very unorganized as it was basically four different nations all fighting separatly, but against the same opponent.  The first real attack was by the Bulgarian army who got all the way to the major city of Constantinople before being stopped.  The armies of the Balkan League attacked from different sides and angles throwing the Ottoman army off.  The Ottoman navy was also held in check as they were pinned in their "safe zone" while having the Athenian navy around them.  The two times that the Ottomans left their safe zone resulted in the Battles of Elle and Lemnos which resulted in two Ottoman defeats.  The First Balkan War ended on May 17, 1913 with the Treaty of London.

(This shows the dead Bulgarian soldiers after their defeat in a battle in the First Balkan War.)



The Second Balkan War was mainly everyone fighting against the Bulgarians.  It was also much shorter than the first only lasting from June 16 until July 18 of 1913.  The main Bulgarian attacking of the war was first against the Serbian troops.  A combination of the Serbs and the Greecians stopped the advancement of the Bulgarian army.  The Battle of Kilkis-Lahana was a major battle in the Second Balkan War and featured the Bulgarians greatly outnumbered by the Greecians, although the Bulgarians were heavily fortified.  Each side suffered pretty severe casualties but it ended with a decisive Greek victory, probably the most decisive in the whole Balkan Wars.  The Treaty of Bucharest settled this second Balkan War.

(This diagram shows the borders and the contents of the countries after both Balkan Wars were over.)


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