Balkan Wars (Chronology of European History)
Article abstract: The Balkan Wars reveal the weakening of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, the growth of Serbian power, and the infirmity of Russian policy—all of which contribute to the unsettled conditions leading to World War I.
Summary of Event
The Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 accelerated the already rapid disintegration of the Ottoman Empire, a process that had been going on since Austria had annexed the Turkish provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908. Russia desired to forestall any further Austrian advance in the Balkans, especially against Serbia, and shore up the faltering Turks until Russia itself could become strong enough to move against them. Thus, from 1909 to 1913, Russia worked for the establishment of a Balkan League, based on separate agreements between Bulgaria on the one hand and Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro on the other, together with a Montenegrin-Serbian accord. The league finally came into existence in 1912, but the powers that comprised it were in no mood to act as mere caretakers on behalf of Russia. On the contrary, Austria’s annexation of Bosnia and Herzegovina and Italy’s annexation of Tripoli in 1912 more than encouraged the members of the Balkan League to drive the Turks out of Europe altogether and divide the territorial spoils between them.
The Ottoman Empire had more than demonstrated its inability to rule its subject nations adequately or carry out reforms on their...
(The entire section is 1209 words.)
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Balkan Wars (Magill’s Guide to Military History)
Article abstract: At issue: Ousting of Turkey from the Balkans. Result: These military conflicts deprived the Ottoman Empire of almost all of its remaining territory in Europe.
The Balkan Wars marked the end of the Ottoman Empire in Europe and the rise of Serbia as a significant regional power. They represent the greatest military victories ever won by Serbia. Sometimes the First Balkan War (October, 1912-May, 1913) is termed a “war of liberation” because it was started by the four small, newly independent Balkan countries of Montenegro, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Greece, which formed the Balkan League in order to finish pushing the Ottomans out of Europe. The Second Balkan War (June-August, 1913) is often regarded as a petty and bloody Balkan squabble over the spoils because in it Bulgaria attacked its erstwhile allies Greece and Serbia over the disposition of “liberated” Macedonia. However, these interpretations miss two important points about the wars.
Expansion took on a virtue of its own as each of the Balkan League’s members took over territory to which it had no clear ethnic claim. The plunder, slaughter, and expulsion of civilians was a deliberate, significant, and sobering aspect of both wars. Thus, these wars were as much harbingers of the grotesque style of twentieth century total war as they were of unresolved national problems in the Balkans or of traditional, low-tech wars of...
(The entire section is 1074 words.)