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.
of Saloniki.  The battle of Jenitsa was fiercely contested but the Greeks were victorious though they lost about 2000 men.  This victory opened the way to Saloniki.  The Turkish armies which defended it having been scattered by the Greek forces, that city surrendered to Crown Prince Constantine on the eighth of November.  It was only three weeks since the Greek army had left Larissa and it had disposed of about 60,000 Turks on the way.

On the outbreak of war Greece had declared a blockade of all Turkish ports.  To the usual list of contraband articles there were added not only coal, concerning which the practice of belligerent nations had varied, but also machine oil, which so far as I know was then for the first time declared contraband of war.  As Turkey imported both coal and lubricants, the purpose of this policy was of course to paralyze transportation in the Ottoman Empire.  Incidentally I may say the prohibition of lubricating oil caused much inconvenience to American commerce; not, however, primarily on its own account, but because of its confusion, in the minds of Greek officials, with such harmless substances as cotton seed oil and oleo.  The Greek navy not only maintained a very effective blockade but also took possession of all the Aegean Islands under Turkish rule, excepting Rhodes and the Dodecanese, which Italy held as a temporary pledge for the fulfilment by Turkey of some of the conditions of the treaty by which they had closed their recent war.  It will be seen, therefore, that the navy was a most important agent in the campaign, and Greece was the only one of the Allies that had a navy.  The Greek navy was sufficient not only to terrorize the Turkish navy, which it reduced to complete impotence, but also to paralyze Turkish trade and commerce with the outside world, to embarrass railway transportation within the Empire, to prevent the sending of reinforcements to Macedonia or the Aegean coast of Thrace, and to detach from Turkey those Aegean Islands over which she still exercised effective jurisdiction.


On land the other Allies had been not less active than Greece.  Montenegro had fired the first shot of the war.  And the brave soldiers of King Nicholas, the illustrious ruler of the one Balkan state which the Turks had never conquered, were dealing deadly blows to their secular enemy both in Novi Bazar and Albania.

As the Greeks had pressed into southern Macedonia, so the Servian armies advanced through old Servia into northern and central Macedonia.  In their great victory over the Turkish forces at Kumanovo they avenged the defeat of their ancestors at Kossovo five hundred years before.  Still marching southward they again defeated the enemy in two great engagements, the one at Prilip and the other at Monastir.  The latter city had been the object of the Greek advance to Florina, but when the prize fell to Servia, though the Greeks were appointed, it made no breach in the friendship of the two Allies.  Already no doubt they were both gratified that the spheres of their military occupation were conterminous and that no Turkish territory remained for Bulgaria to occupy west of the Vardar River.

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