The Balkan Wars: 1912-1913 eBook

Jacob Gould Schurman
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 74 pages of information about The Balkan Wars.

BULGARIAN MILITARY OPERATIONS

While Greece and Servia were scattering, capturing, or destroying the Turkish troops stationed in Macedonia, and closing in on that province from north and south like an irresistible vise, it fell to Bulgaria to meet the enemy’s main army in the plains of Eastern Thrace.  The distribution of the forces of the Allies was the natural result of their respective geographical location.  Macedonia to the west of the Vardar and Bregalnitza Rivers was the only part of Turkey which adjoined Greece and Servia.  Thrace, on the other hand, marched with the southern boundary of Bulgaria from the sources of the Mesta River to the Black Sea, and its eastern half was intersected diagonally by the main road from Sofia to Adrianople and Constantinople.  Along this line the Bulgarians sent their forces against the common enemy as soon as war was declared.  The swift story of their military exploits, the record of their brilliant victories, struck Europe with amazement.  Here was a country which only thirty-five years earlier had been an unknown and despised province of Turkey in Europe now overwhelming the armies of the Ottoman Empire in the great victories of Kirk Kilisse, Lule Burgas, and Chorlu.  In a few weeks the irresistible troops of King Ferdinand had reached the Chataldja line of fortifications.  Only twenty-five miles beyond lay Constantinople where they hoped to celebrate their final triumph.

THE COLLAPSE OF TURKEY

The Great Powers of Europe had other views.  Even if the Bulgarian delay at Chataldja—­a delay probably due to exhaustion—­had not given the Turks time to strengthen their defences and reorganize their forces, it is practically certain that the Bulgarian army would not have been permitted to enter Constantinople.  But with the exception of the capital and its fortified fringe, all Turkey in Europe now lay at the mercy of the Allies.  The entire territory was either already occupied by their troops or could be occupied at leisure.  Only at three isolated points was the Ottoman power unsubdued.  The city of Adrianople, though closely besieged by the Bulgarians, still held out, and the great fortresses of Scutari in Northern Albania and Janina in Epirus remained in the hands of their Turkish garrisons.

The power of Turkey had collapsed in a few weeks.  Whether the ruin was due to inefficiency and corruption in government or the injection by the Young Turk party of politics into the army or exhaustion resulting from the recent war with Italy or to other causes more obscure, we need not pause to inquire.  The disaster itself, however, had spread far enough in the opinion of Europe, and a Peace Conference was summoned in December.  Delegates from the belligerent states and ambassadors from the Great Powers came together in London.  But their labors in the cause of peace proved unavailing.  Turkey was unwilling

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