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.

But I have said enough to indicate that as in its origin so also in its results this awful cataclysm under which the civilized world is now reeling will be found to be vitally connected with the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913.  And I conclude with the hope that the present volume, which devotes indeed but little space to military matters and none at all to atrocities and massacres, may prove helpful to readers who seek light on the underlying conditions, the causes, and the consequences of those historic struggles.  The favor already accorded to the work and the rapid exhaustion of the first edition* seem to furnish some justification of this hope.

Jacob Gould Schurman.

November 26, 1914.

* The present work is rather, a reprint than a new edition, few changes having been made except the correction of typographical errors.


The changes made in the map of Europe by the Balkan Wars of 1912-1913 were not merely the occasion but a cause and probably the most potent, and certainly the most urgent, of all the causes that led to the World War which has been raging with such titanic fury since the summer of 1914.

Had the Balkan Allies after their triumph over Turkey not fallen out amongst themselves, had there been no second Balkan War in 1913, had the Turkish provinces wrested from the Porte by the united arms of Bulgaria, Greece, Servia, and Montenegro been divided amongst the victors either by diplomacy or arbitration substantial justice would have been done to all, none of them would have been humiliated, and their moderation and concord would have commended their achievement to the Great Powers who might perhaps have secured the acquiescence of Austria-Hungary in the necessary enlargement of Servia and the expansion of Greece to Saloniki and beyond.

But the outbreak of the second Balkan War nullified all these fair prospects.  And Bulgaria, who brought it on, found herself encircled by enemies, including not only all her recent Allies against Turkey, but also Turkey herself, and even Roumania, who had remained a neutral spectator of the first Balkan War.  Of course Bulgaria was defeated.  And a terrible punishment was inflicted on her.  She was stripped of a large part of the territory she had just conquered from Turkey, including her most glorious battle-fields; her original provinces were dismembered; her extension to the Aegean Sea was seriously obstructed, if not practically blocked; and, bitterest and most tragic of all, the redemption of the Bulgarians in Macedonia, which was the principal object and motive of her war against Turkey in 1912, was frustrated and rendered hopeless by Greek and Servian annexations of Macedonian territory extending from the Mesta to the Drin with the great cities of Saloniki, Kavala, and Monastir, which in the patriotic national consciousness had long loomed up as fixed points in the “manifest destiny” of Bulgaria.

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