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.
he thought the disputed points should be submitted to arbitration.  But months followed months without bringing from Bulgaria any clear reply to this just and reasonable proposal of the Greek government.  Nevertheless, Mr. Venizelos persisted in his attitude of conciliation toward Bulgaria.  He made concessions, not only in Thrace but in Eastern Macedonia, for which he was bitterly criticized on the ground of sacrificing vital Greek interests to Bulgaria.  He recognized, as his critics refused to do, that the Balkan question could not be settled on ethnological principles alone; one had to take account also of geographical necessities.  He saw that the Greeks in Thrace must be handed over to Bulgaria.  He demanded only the Macedonian territory which the Greek forces had actually occupied, including Saloniki with an adequate hinterland.  As the attitude of Bulgaria became more uncompromising, as she pushed her army of occupation further westward, Mr. Venizelos was even ready to make the River Struma the eastern boundary of New Greece, and to abandon to Bulgaria the Aegean Httoral between the Struma and the Mesta Rivers including Greek cities like Kavala, Seres, and Drama.  But these new concessions of Mr. Venizelos were in danger of alienating from him the support of the Greek nation without yielding anything in return from Bulgaria.  The outbreak of the war between the Allies saved him from a difficult political position.  Yet against that war Mr. Venizelos strove resolutely to the end.  And when in despite of all his efforts war came, he was justified in saying, as he did say to the national parliament, that the Greeks had the right to present themselves before the civilized world with head erect because this new war which was bathing with blood the Balkan Peninsula had not been provoked by Greece or brought about by the demand of Greece to receive satisfaction for all her ethnological claims.  And this position in which he had placed his country was, he proudly declared, a “moral capital” of the greatest value.


Bulgaria’s belated acceptance of Russian arbitration was not destined to establish peace.  Yet Dr. Daneff, the prime minister, who received me on June 27 and talked freely of the Balkan situation (perhaps the more freely because in this conversation it transpired that we had been fellow students together at the University of Heidelberg), decided on June 28 not to go to war with the Allies.  Yet that very evening at eight o’clock, unknown to Dr. Daneff, an order in cipher and marked “very urgent” was issued by General Savoff to the commander of the fourth army directing him on the following evening to attack the Servians “most vigorously along the whole front.”  On the following afternoon, the 29th, General Savoff issued another order to the army commanders giving further instructions for attacks on the Servians and Greeks, including an attack on Saloniki, stating that

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