The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 eBook

Jacob Gould Schurman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 87 pages of information about The Balkan Wars.
sent insurgent bands into Macedonia to maintain and assert their respective national interests.  This was one of the causes of the war between Turkey and Greece in 1897, and the reverses of the Greeks in that war inured to the advantage of the Bulgarian propaganda in Macedonia.  Servian bands soon after began to appear on the scene.  These hostile activities in Macedonia naturally produced reprisals at the hands of the Turkish authorities.  In one district alone 100 villages were burned, over 8,000 houses destroyed, and 60,000 peasants left without homes at the beginning of winter.  Meanwhile the Austrian and Russian governments intervened and drew up elaborate schemes of reform, but their plans could not be adequately enforced and the result was failure.  The Austro-Russian entente came to an end in 1908, and in the same year England joined Russia in a project aiming at a better administration of justice and involving more effective European supervision.  Scarcely had this programme been announced when the revolution under the Young Turk party broke out which promised to the world a regeneration of the Ottoman Empire.  Hopeful of these constitutional reformers of Turkey, Europe withdrew from Macedonia and entrusted its destinies to its new master.  Never was there a more bitter disappointment.  If autocratic Sultans had punished the poor Macedonians with whips, the Young Turks flayed them with scorpions.

Sympathy, indignation, and horror conspired with nationalistic aspirations and territorial interests to arouse the kindred populations of the surrounding states.  And in October, 1912, war was declared against Turkey by Bulgaria, Servia, Montenegro, and Greece.


This brings us to the so-called Balkan Alliance about which much has been written and many errors ignorantly propagated.  For months after the outbreak of the war against Turkey the development of this Alliance into a Confederation of the Balkan states, on the model of the American or the German constitution, was a theme of constant discussion in Europe and America.  As a matter of fact there existed no juridical ground for this expectation, and the sentiments of the peoples of the four Christian nations, even while they fought together against the Moslem, were saturated with such an infusion of suspicion and hostility as to render nugatory any programme of Balkan confederation.  An alliance had indeed been concluded between Greece and Bulgaria in May, 1912, but it was a defensive, not an offensive alliance.  It provided that in case Turkey attacked either of these states, the other should come to its assistance with all its forces, and that whether the object of the attack were the territorial integrity of the nation or the rights guaranteed it by international law or special conventions.  Without the knowledge of the Greek government, an offensive alliance against Turkey had in March, 1912,

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The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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