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.

In all Macedonia there may be some 100,000 Vlachs, though Roumanian officials put the number much higher.  Many of them are highland shepherds; others engage in transportation with trains of horses or mules; those in the lowlands are good farmers.  They are found especially in the mountains and valleys between Thessaly and Albania.  They are generally favorable to the Greek cause.  Most of them speak Greek as well as Roumanian; and they are all devoted members of the Greek Orthodox Church.  Yet there has been a Roumanian propaganda in Macedonia since 1886, and the government at Bukarest has devoted large sums to the maintenance of Roumanian schools, of which the maximum number at any time has perhaps not exceeded forty.

Now if every other nation—­Greek, Servian, Bulgarian—­which had hitherto maintained its propaganda of schools and churches in Macedonia, was to bring its now emancipated children under the benign sway of the home government and also was to annex the Macedonian lands which they occupied, why, Roumania asked, should she be excluded from participation in the arrangement?  She did not, it is true, join the Allies in fighting the common Moslem oppressor.  But she maintained a benevolent neutrality.  And since Macedonia is not conterminous with Roumania, she was not seeking to annex any portion of it.  Yet the rights those Roumanians in Macedonia gave her should be satisfied.  And so arguing, the Roumanian government claimed as a quid pro quo the adjoining northeastern corner of Bulgaria, permitting Bulgaria to recoup herself by the uncontested annexation of Thrace and Eastern Macedonia.

Such was the Roumanian reasoning.  Certainly it bore hard on Bulgaria.  But none of the belligerents showed any mercy on Bulgaria.  War is a game of ruthless self-interest.  It was Bulgaria who appealed to arms and she now had to pay the penalty.  Her losses enriched all her neighbors.  What Lord Bacon says of individuals is still more true of nations:  the folly of one is the fortune of another, and none prospers so suddenly as by others’ errors.


I have already sufficiently described the territorial gains of Roumania, Servia, and Greece.  But I must not pass over Montenegro in silence.  As the invincible warriors of King Nicholas opened the war against the Ottoman Empire, so they joined Servia and Greece in the struggle against Bulgaria.  On Sunday, June 29, I saw encamped across the street from my hotel in Uskub 15,000 of these Montenegrin soldiers who had arrived only a day or two before by train from Mitrowitza, into which they had marched across Novi Bazar.  Tall, lithe, daring, with countenances bespeaking clean lives, they looked as fine a body of men as one could find anywhere in the world, and their commanding figures and manly bearing were set off to great advantage by their striking and picturesque uniforms.  The officers told me next day that in a few hours they would be fighting at Ghevgheli.  Their splendid appearance seemed an augury of victory for the Serbs.

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