Carnegie Endowment for International peace
Report ... to inquire into the causes and Conduct of the Balkan Wars

The Origin of the Two Balkan Wars

4. The conflict between the allies

There had long existed germs of discord among the Balkan nationalities which could not be stifled by the treaties of alliance of which we know. Rather the texts of these treaties created fresh misunderstandings and afforded formal pretexts to cover the real reasons of conflict. There was but one means which could have effectually prevented the development of the germs-to maintain the territorial status quo of Turkey and grant autonomy to the nationalities without a change of sovereignty. This could not have been, it is true, a definitive solution ; it could only be a delay, a stage, but a stage that would have bridged the transition. In default of an issue which Turkey .rendered impossible by its


errors, Europe by its too protracted patience and the allies by their success, the change was too abrupt. It produced the deplorable results we are to study under the aspect of the "excesses" committed by the different nationalities when reduced to an elementary struggle for existence carried out by the most primitive means.

We find this struggle in Macedonia from the first days of the Servian and Greek occupation onwards. At first there was general rejoicing and an outburst of popular gratitude towards the liberators. The Macedonian revolutionaries themselves had foreseen and encouraged this feeling. They said in their "proclamation to our brothers," published by the delegates of the twenty-five Macedonian confederacies on October 5/18, i. e., at the very beginning of the war:

"Brothers:-your sufferings and your pains have touched the heart of your kindred. Moved by the sacred duty of fraternal compassion, they come to your aid to free you from the Turkish yoke. In return for their sacrifice they desire nothing but to reestablish peace and order in the land of our birth. Come to meet these brave knights of freedom therefore with triumphal crowns. Cover the way before their feet with flowers and glory. And be magnanimous to those who yesterday were your masters. As true Christians, give them not evil for evil. Long live liberty! Long live the brave army of liberation!" In fact the Servian army entered the north and the Greek army the south of Macedonia, amid cries of joy from the population. But this enthusiasm for the liberators soon gave place to doubts, then to disenchantment, and finally was converted to hatred and despair. The Bulgarian journal published at Salonica, Bulgarine, first records some discouraging cases whose number was swollen by the presence 3f certain individuals, chauvinists of a peculiar turn, who gave offence to the national sentiment of the country by the risks they ran. "It is the imperative duty of the powers in occupation," said the journal, "to keep attentive watch over the behavior of irresponsible persons." Alas! five days later (November 20) the journal had to lay it down, as a general condition of the stability of the alliance, that the powers in occupation should show toleration to all nationalities and refrain from treating some of them as enemies. Four days later the journal, instead of attacking the persons responsible, was denouncing the powers who in their blind chauvinism take no account of the national sentiments of the people temporarily subject to them." They still, however, cherished the hope that the local authorities were acting without the knowledge of Belgrade. The next day the editor wrote his leader under a question addressed to the Allied Governments: "Is this a war of liberation or a war of conquest?" He knew the reply well enough; the Greek authorities forbade the existence of this Bulgarian paper in their town of Salonica.

The illusion of the inhabitants likewise disappeared before the touch of reality. The Servian soldier, like the Greek, was firmly persuaded that in Macedonia he would find compatriots, men who could speak his language and address him with jivio or zito. He found men speaking a language different


from his, who cried hourrah! He misunderstood or did not understand at all. The theory he had learned from youth of the existence of a Servian Macedonia and a Greek Macedonia naturally suffered; but his patriotic conviction that Macedonia must become Greek or Servian, if not so already, remained unaffected. Doubtless Macedonia had been what he wanted it to become in those times of Douchan the Strong or the Byzantine Emperors. It was only agitators and propagandist Bulgarians who instilled into the population the idea of being Bulgarian. The agitators must be driven out of the country, and it would again become what it had always been, Servian or Greek. Accordingly they acted on this basis.

Who were these agitators who had made the people forget the Greek and Servian tongues? First, they were the priests; then the schoolmasters; lastly the revolutionary elements who, under the ancient regime, had formed an "organization" ; heads of bands and their members, peasants who had supplied them with money or food,-in a word the whole of the male population, in so far as it was educated and informed. It was much easier for a Servian or a Greek to discover all these criminal patriots than it had been for the Turkish authorities, under the absolutist regime, to do so. The means of awakening the national conscience were much better known to Greeks and Servians, for one thing, since they were accustomed to use them for their own cause. Priests, schoolmasters, bands existed among the Greeks and Servians, as well as among the Bulgarians. In Macedonia the difference, as we know, lay in the fact that the schoolmaster or priest, the Servian voyevoda or Greek andarte, addressed himself to the minority, and had to recruit his own following instead of finding them ready made. Isolated in the midst of a Bulgarian population, he made terms with Turkish power while the national Bulgarian "organizations" fought against it. Since the representative of the national minority lived side by side with his Bulgarian neighbors, and knew them far better than did the Turkish official or policeman, he could supply the latter with the exact information. He learned still more during the last few years of general truce between the Christian nationalities and growing alliance against the Turk. Almost admitted to the plot, many secrets were known to him. It was but natural he should use this knowledge for the advantage of the compatriots who had appeared in the guise of liberators. On the arrival of his army, he was no longer solitary, isolated and despised; he became useful and necessary, and was proud of serving the national cause. With his aid, denunciation became an all powerful weapon; it penetrated to the recesses of local life and revived events of the past unknown to the Turkish authorities. These men, regarded by the population as leaders and venerated as heroes, were arrested and punished like mere vagabonds and brigands, while the dregs were raised to greatness.

This progressive disintegration of social and national life began in Macedonia with the entry of the armies of occupation, and did not cease during the eight months which lie between the beginning of the first war and the beginning


of the second. It could not fail to produce the most profound changes. The Bulgarian nation was decapitated. A beginning was made when it was easiest. he openly revolutionary elements were gotten rid of,-the comitadjis and all lose who had been connected with the movement of insurrection against the Turkish rule or the conflict with the national minorities. This was the easier because in the chaos of Macedonian law there was no clearly drawn line of demarcation between political and ordinary crime.

To combat the Bulgarian schools was more difficult. The time was already long past when the schoolmaster was necessarily a member of the "interior organization." The purely professional element had steadily displaced the apostles and martyrs of preceding generations. But the conquerors saw things as they had been decades ago. For them the schoolmaster was always the conspirator, the dangerous man who must be gotten rid of, and the school, however strictly “professional,” was a center from which Bulgarian civilization emanated. This why the school became the object of systematic attack on the part of Servians and Greeks. Their first act on arriving in any place whatsoever was to close the schools and use them as quarters for the soldiery. Then the teachers of the village were collected together and told that their services were no longer retired if they refused to teach in Greek or Servian. Those who continued to declare themselves Bulgarians were exposed to a persecution whose severity varied with the length of their resistance. Even the most intransigeant had to avow themselves beaten in the end; if not, they were sometimes allowed to depart for Bulgaria, but more usually sent to prison in Salonica or Uskub.

The most difficult people to subdue were the priests, and above all the bishops. They were first asked to change the language of divine service. Endeavors were made to subject them to the Servian or Greek ecclesiastical authorities, and they were compelled to mention their names in the liturgy. If the priest showed the smallest inclination to resist, his exarchist church was taken from him and handed over to the patriarchists; he was forbidden to hold any communication with his flock, and on the smallest disobedience was accused of political propagandism and treason. At first an open attack on the bishops was not ventured on. When Neophite, bishop of Veles, refused to separate the name of King Peter from the names of the other kings of the allies in his prayers, and used colors in his services which were suspected of being the Bulgarian national colors, Mr. Pachitch advised the military powers at Uskub (January 4/17) to treat him as equal to the Servian bishop and with correctitude. This ministerial order, however, did not prevent the local administrator of Veles, some weeks later (January 24/February 6 and February 4/17), from forbidding Neophite to hold services and assemblies in his bishopric, to see priests outside of the church or to hold communication with the villages. As the bishop refused to take the veiled hints given to him to depart for Bulgaria, an officer was finally sent to his house accompanied by soldiers, who took his abode for the army, after having beaten his secretary. In the same way Cosmas, bishop of Debra,


was forced to abandon his seat and leave his town. It was even worse at Uskub, where the holder of the bishopric, the Archimandrite Methodius, was first driven out of his house, taken by force, shut up in a room and belabored by four soldiers until he lost consciousness (April 8/21). Cast out into the street, Methodius escaped into a neighboring house, in which a Frenchman dwelt who told the story to Mr. Carlier, French consul at Uskub. Under his protection, Methodius left for Salonica on April 13/26, whence he was sent to Sofia. The Commission has in its possession a deposition signed by the foreign doctors of Salonica who saw and examined Methodius on April 15/28, and found his story "entirely probable." [See the Appendix.]

The leaders, intellectual and religious, of the revolutionary movement, having been removed, the population of the villages were directly approached and urged to change their nationality and proclaim themselves Servian or Greek. The ecclesiastic Bulgarian reports written from every part of Macedonia are unanimous on this head. "You know," Bishop Neophite of Veles said to his persecutor, "in your capacity as sub-prefect, what the Servian priests and schoolmasters are doing in the villages. They are visiting the Bulgarian villages with soldiers and forcing the people to write themselves down as Servians, drive out their Bulgarian priest and ask to have a Servian priest given them. Those who refuse to proclaim themselves Servians are beaten and tortured." We are in possession of the Servian formula of renunciation of Bulgarian nationality. This is the formula which the priests of these villages and their flocks had to address to Mr. Vincentius, the Servian metropolitan at Uskub:

I and the flock confided to my charge by God were formerly Servian, but the terrors with which the Bulgarian comitadjis representing the revolutionary organization inspired us, and the violence they used towards us, compelled us and our fathers before us to turn from the patriarchate to the exarchate, thus making Bulgarians of the pure Servians we were. Thus we called ourselves Bulgars under fear of death until the arrival of our Servian army, until the moment of our liberation from the Turks. Now that we are no longer in fear of bombs, stones, and bullets, we beg your Holiness, on our own behalf and on behalf of our flocks, to deign to restore us to our Holy Church of Uskub, to restore us to the faith which we have for a time betrayed through fear of death. Kissing your holy right hand, we ask you to pray to God to pardon our sin. Signed at Sopot, March 28, 1913.

This formula was sent, in Servia, by a Servian official, Daniel Tsakits, secretary to the Malinska community at Koumanovo, to the Bulgarian priest, Nicolas Ivanov, with the following letter:

Father Nicolas, thou shalt sign this letter that I send thee, and after thee all the villagers of Sopot are to sign likewise the Trstenitchani, the


Piestchani, the Stanevchani, and the Alakintchani, who are thy parishioners. The whole to be ready by Saturday. Greeting from Daniel Tsakits, 27, III, 1913, Malino.

On the margin, Mr. Tsakits added that there must be twenty signatures per village and, to be the more sure of his man, gave him on the other side indications ad oculos: e. g.:

Priest Nicolas


Yane Troyine

Petroche Kralo


Troyan Spasi

Ghele Sparits


Petrouche Yane 

Danil Naoumov . . . . . . . . . . .
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"Take care that those who have signed do not make off."

The precaution was not superfluous, for priest Nicolas replied to this invitation by himself making off to Chtipe, to the protection of the Bulgarian authorities. This is what he wrote to the sub-prefect at Chtipe:

I did not desire to lead my parishioners to the Servian church. Since I could not renounce my Bulgarian nationality, I have emigrated. I should add that my family is exposed to the revenge of the Servian authorities and that my children, remaining in their birthplace, will be condemned to imprisonment at Belgrade if I do not immediately return.


The Servians have attempted to deny the authenticity of the secret Bulgarian documents cited above, and a small collection of secret Servian documents, likewise authentic, has actually been published to refute them. We shall return thereto; but upon the point that interests us it must be said that these documents only confirm what we have already said. "Anyone calling himself Bulgarian," writes a certain Peter Kotsov, a Macedonian Bulgar, in a letter of January 11/24, 1913, "risks being killed. The Servians have introduced their communal administration throughout the villages, and installed a Servian schoolmaster for every ten villages. We can not act and we are in a difficult position because the Servians have taken all the Bulgarians' arms. We do what we can, we call to the people; but we are all waiting for the Bulgarian army. Make it come as soon as possible, or we shall all be subjected by the Servians. Even the staunchest Bulgarians are ready to become Servians. The secret police has


numerous agents. Anyone who ventures to speak ill of the Servians exposes himself to much suffering. [The documents are published in an appendix to Balcanicus' book, The Servians and Buigarians in the Balkan War. Our quotation is taken from the German translation Serbien und Bulgarien im Balkankriege, 1912-13, ins Deutsche uebertragen von Dr. jur. L. Markowitsch, Wigand, Leipzig, 1913." The French translation of the original perverts the meaning of the published documents. For example, in our quotation the first phrase (German "Wer sich als Bulgare bekennf, dem droht die Lebensgefahr") is translated as "It is impossible for us to raise the people." The last phrase "Wer was Schlechtes hier von Serben sagt, dem wird es nicht wohlergehen," is simply omitted.] In the South of Macedonia, in the Greek occupation zone [See the zones of occupation on the map (page 55) taken without alteration from Balcanicus’ book to show the Servian point of view the more clearly. We have merely made the stippling rather more distinct and completed the Albanian frontier to the South, as projected at the London Conference (Balcanicus shows an Albania of which more than half is in Servian occupation), adding the line of the Serbo-Bulgarian frontier as agreed by the treaty of February 29/ March 13, 1912. Balcanicus is the pseudonym of a well-known Servian statesman.] the same endeavors are being made to make the population Greek."

Here are some examples, from among thousands. A letter from the village of Dembesi (Castoria) on December 11/24, 1912, runs:

The first care of the Greek officers and soldiers arriving here is to discover if the population of the said village and its environs is Bulgarian or Greek. If the population is pure Bulgarian, the officers order the peasants to "become Greeks again, that being the condition of a peaceful life."

Evidently here again the underlying assumption made is that the whole population was Greek in the past. "How long have you been Bulgarian?" the Greek officer asked at Khroupichta, for example. "For years," was the reply. “Return to old times then; become Greeks again," was the order thereupon. And he showed remarkable clemency.In the village of Gorno-Nestrame, when the population replied in Bulgarian to questions put in Greek, the Greek Beer cried out angrily: "Mi fonasete vourgarika"-[Don't speak Bulgarian] : we are in Greece and anyone who speaks Bulgarian shall be off to Bulgaria. In ?me villages the question was put in this form: "Are you Christians or Bulgarians?" In several villages the inhabitants were made to sign petitions whose contents, unknown to them, were a demand for reunion with Greece. "What a shame," said the Greek gendarmes at Gorno-Koufalovo (March 12/25), We have freed you. The voice of Alexander the Great calls to you from the tomb; do you not hear it?You sleep on and go on calling yourselves Bulgarians!"

Where then was the Bulgarian army for which people were crying in Macedonia and begging it to come soon, if Bulgarian Macedonia were to be saved? In the eve of the war, as we have seen, the Bulgarian General Staff insisted on having 100,000 men left free, according to the terms of the treaty, to fight back to back with the Servians in Macedonia, and thus effect a real condominium after the conquest. To defeat the Turks in the principal theater of war was first and foremost a matter of imperious strategic necessity. After the first


victories, however, and the repulsion of the Turks at Kirk Kilisse, Lule Bourgas, Tchorlou, and Tchataldja, a new reason for continuing the war appeared. After the end of November the question might be put, as by the editor of the Bulgarian paper at Salonica, whether this was a war of liberation or of conquest. The war of liberation has in fact gained its end at Lule Bourgas (October 31), Salonica (October 27), Monastir (October 28). Why go on pouring out the blood of hundreds of thousands of men and expending great sums of money down to the capture of Adrianople (March 13), of Yanina (February 24), Durazzo and Scutari (April 9) ? The question was debated at length in all its details at Belgrade during the debates on the address at the beginning of November (new style), and at Sofia above all, in the three weeks of the election campaign (November 17-December 7). For divers reasons the two parties agreed to end the war in November, 1912, and the Servian opposition, as well as the Bulgarian opposition, tried to prove that statesmen and parties had committed a grave error in letting- it drag on longer (down to May, 1913). In the first place, what had the Servians to gain by it? A discussion between the opposition orator, Mr. Drachkovits, and the deputies composing the majority in the Skupshtina (October 23/Nov. 5, 1913) will show:

Mr. Milorad Drachkovits: For Bulgaria the breaking of the armistice and the new war spelt Adrianople, the most important fortress in the Balkans after Constantinople. For Bulgaria that meant the addition to the one sea she possessed of two others, and the permanent isolation of Constantinople. But what does that mean for us ? What are we going to gain in compensation for the acquisition of Adrianople, of Thrace and of three seas, the desires of the Bulgarians?

A Voice from the Right: We buy back Macedonia.

Mr. Drachkovits: But gentlemen of the majority, we have already bought it back. We have acquired it.

Anastasius Petrovits: And the treaty?

Mr. Drachkovits: If you want Servia to put the treaty in force, first make Bulgaria do so. But you are freeing Bulgaria from an engagement which it contracted while making Servia responsible for an engagement into which it never entered.

Anastasius Petrovits: It is that fact which, as the world recognizes, has given the government its most real rights over Macedonia.

Mr. Drachkovits: We have not assisted all those who have recognized the fact; but we have assisted Bulgaria, which does not recognize it.

We shall see that it is in truth the eight months' delay which allows Servia to annul the treaty and keep the whole of Macedonia. But how do the Bulgarians come to allow the war to be thus prolonged? How did they, or rather how did their government fail to see that the occupation of Macedonia for eight months by the Servians and Greeks was going to prevent the attainment of the real end of the war,-the unification of Bulgarian nationality?

Here the case is more complex. The replies made to the attacks of Mr.


Ghenadiev by his predecessors, and especially by Mr. Theodore Theodorov, were plausible enough. Yet, it is true that Grand Vizier Kiamil asked for peace on October 29/Nov. 11, 1902. But the General Staff, among them General Savov, insisted that war should be recommenced without dragging on the pourparlers. You say that Turkey was ready at that time to hand over Adrianople? The case never arose. You cite as proof the mysterious mission to Constantinople of the Bulgarian banker, Mr. Kaltchev (December 10-13/23-26) ? Without insisting on the fact that the government had no information about a mission that was entirely confidential (Mr. Guechov's first act when hearing of it was to offer his resignation), Mr. Kaltchev himself and his interlocutor, Mr. Noradounghian, Foreign Minister in the Kiamil cabinet, made it known through the press that the questions at issue were the autonomy of Macedonia and Thrace and the condominium at Dede-Agatch, and that there was no question of the cession of Adrianople. [Kiamil asked that the garrison in Adrianople might be allowed to depart and passage be left free as far as Tchataldia.] Mr. Ghenadiev continued to talk of a third opportunity for negotiations: the interview between General Savov and Nazim Pasha and Noradounghian, at Tchataldja on December 26/January 8, which the Turkish ministry resigned themselves to the abandonment of the beleaguered fortress in return for certain concessions in favor of Moslem religious establishments and subject to the undertaking that Greek pretensions to the islands were not upheld-but, Mr. Theodorov asserts, all that is false; if it were true the acceptance of conditions so equivocal would have been tantamount to a breach of alliance and would have stopped the regular negotiations going on in London.

In all these questions of fact, the last word has probably not yet been said. What is clear so far, is that in so far as Mr. Theodorov succeeded in exonerating himself, and the Danev Cabinet found excuses for missing all these happy opportunities for negotiations, it was only by means of casting the responsibility on others in higher places.

It will be seen from the preceding that by the end of 1912 there were two policies in Bulgaria: the policy of the cabinet and that of those in direct contact with the army. Ministers might be anxious to be faithful to the terms of the alliance; that consideration hardly troubled General Savov's entourage. The press has said a great deal about the romanticism of the latter, of Czar Ferdinand's desire to make a triumphal entry into Constantinople, of the white horses and precious Venetian saddle kept ready for the attack on Tchataldja. This followed immediately upon Kiamil's peace proposal of October 29/November 11, the prospects of which were notoriously weakened by its failure. After demanding Adrianople, a new frontier was proposed, Rodosto-Malatra, instead Midia-Enos already adopted by international diplomacy. Such an extension of ambitions could not but hide from sight the principal object of the war. To desire to take Adrianople at whatever cost was to risk the loss of Macedonia.


To demand an outlet on the sea of Marmora was to have lost all feeling of the international position. Was it a pure chance that Macedonia was forgotten amid the secretive but remote ambitions which appeared thus unexpectedly on the horizon ? A recollection of what was said in the second part of this chapter on the relations between the Bulgarian government and the revolutionary movement in Macedonia, will show that there was nothing accidental in this neglect. Distrust was ever active between the Bulgarian government and the Macedonian movement. The former was perpetually apprehensive that the comitadjis would involve them in internal or international complications. Now that Macedonia was on the point of being freed, everything was done to prevent the Macedonians themselves from having any direct share in the work of liberation. The reason may have lain partly in that notion of partition in Macedonia, admitted in the treaties, but unknown to the public at large, which had yet to become accustomed to it. In any case the 15,000 Macedonian volunteers who might have been left to fight in Macedonia itself, near their homes, were compelled to dwell throughout the war, far away from their villages, at Tchataldja and Boulair. The number of inconvenient witnesses of the work of denationalization in Macedonia was as far as possible reduced, and the taking possession of the conquered country by the Servian and Greek armies as far as possible facilitated. If the aim of these tactics was to facilitate partition, the result went beyond it. What was precipitated was the loss of Macedonia to the profit of the allies. Fear of a real liberation of the Macedonian nation brought about its conquest by the competitors. In January, the Macedonian legionaries of General Ghenev began accusing the Bulgarian government of having deceived the people in order to "sell Macedonia." In fact the government deceived only itself.

True, the Bulgarian government had no notion of making any sacrifice in turning its attention from Veles, Monastir, Okhrida, Castoria and Florina, to which it should have been directed, to Salonica and Rodosto. They thought they could chew all they had bitten off. The members of the Russophil Guechov-Danev cabinet believed it because they were sure of the sacredness of treaty obligations and believed that the existence of the arbitration was a sort of guarantee. The military party and public opinion were sure of the excellence of natural rights which they are ready to defend with the sword.

Were there not, nevertheless, certain premonitory signs which should have proved to the blindest the lack of prudence in combining such complete mistrust of others with such entire self confidence?

First there was the state of things in Macedonia above described. The denationalization process had gone much further there than diplomatists were willing to admit. The partition treaty had long been violated when Mr. Pachitch was still talking of introducing modifications into the treaty to save it from complete annihilation.

On September 15, 1912, that is to say, six and a half months after the conclusion of the treaty, and twenty days before the beginning of the war abroad,


Servia's representative received a secret circular demanding the incorporation in "Old Servia," beyond the agreed frontier, of the towns of Prilepe, Kritchevo and Okhrida. With the victories of the Servian army, the list of concessions demanded rapidly lengthened. Mr. Pachitch was still only talking of Prilepe, the town of the legendary hero, Marko Kralivits, when the army was asking for Monastir. When he asked for Monastir, the army insisted on a frontier co-terminous with Greece. The government ended by accepting all the conditions laid down by the country, conditions that grew more and more exacting. The military party was powerful; it was led by the hereditary prince; and it invariably succeeded in overriding the first minister, always undecided, always temporizing and anxious to arrange everything pleasantly. The demands presented to the Bulgarians by Mr. Pachitch were as vague and indecisive as his home policy. He began in the autumn of 1912, by offering a revision of the treaty in the official organ. Then in December, in a private letter to his ambassador at Sofia, he informed Mr. Guechov, the head of the Bulgarian cabinet, that revision was necessary. In January his ideas as to the limits within which the said revision should take place, were still undecided. In February he submitted written proposals to the Bulgarian government, and suggested that revision might be undertaken "without rousing public opinion or allowing the Great Powers to mix themselves up with the question of partition." At this moment Mr. Pachitch could still fancy that he had the solution of the conflict in his hand. He was to lose this illusion. His colleague was already writing his "Balcanicus" pamphlet in which he took his stand on the clause pacta servanda simt, with the reservation rebus sic stantibus, and pointing to the changes in the disposition of the allied armies between the two theaters of war (see above), as infractions of the treaty which must lead to revision. In his speech of May 29, Mr. Pachitch ended by accepting this reasoning. At the same time the military authorities in Macedonia had decided to hold on. On February 27/ March 12, they told the population of Veles that the town would remain in Servia. On April 3/16, Major Razsoukanov, Bulgarian attache with the General Staff of the Servian army at Uskub, told his government that his demands were not even answered with conditional phrases. "This is provisional, until it has been decided to whom such and such a village belongs" (in the Chtip or Doiran areas). Major Razsoukanov learned that at the instance of the General Staff the Belgrade government had decided on the rivers Zletovska, Bregalnitsa and Lakavitsa, as the definite eastern limit of the occupation territory. The interesting correspondence published by Balcanicus in his pamphlet (see above) refers to the forced execution of this resolution in the disputed territories during the month of March. We have here, on the one hand, the Bulgarian comitadjis begging, according to the advice of the above letter, for the arrival of the Bulgarian force and trying, in its absence, to do its work, well or ill; on the other, the Servian army, setting up Servian administration in the villages, closing the Bulgarian schools, driving out the comitadjis and "reestablishing order."


Between the two parties, contending in a time of peace, stood the population,. forced to side with one or the other and naturally inclining to the stronger. Mr. Razsoukanov (who gives us confirmation of the methods employed by the Servian administration to "round off" the frontiers of the occupied territory) notes also the predominant state of mind of the army of occupation. According to him "the military party in Servia, with the heir apparent as its head," did not stop here. It "dreams of and works for a 'Great Servia' with the river Strouma at least as its frontier." "To insure possession of the occupied territories the Servians had to discover some compromise with the Greeks, and one was found." Mr. Razsoukanov was the first to make us acquainted with facts now confirmed by the Roumanian "Green Book." He states that-"I am inclined to believe that there was, over and above the treaty concluded between the 'military leagues' of the two countries, a similar agreement between the governments and the armies. That was why General Poutnik went, on March 9/22, to 'inspect' the garrison at Monastir, where there was barely a regiment, and the heir apparent had also gone on two occasions, likewise for 'inspection.' I rather think that in the special train, with which General Poutnik was provided by the Greeks, 'something' was decided between the two allies, to the disadvantage of the absent third: and that it was this special train, Salonica to Monastir, which the General went to 'inspect.' It is a fact that the Servian ambassador at Bucharest did on March 24/April 6, propose to Roumania a treaty of alliance against Bulgaria, and that on April 19/May 2, the Greek ambassador made the same proposition. Mr. Venizelos, on his part, confessed to the Chamber that Prince Nicholas-one of the interlocutors on board the 'special trains,'-as military governor of Salonica, largely contributed in the preparations of the Greek-Servian convention. This convention was concluded on May 16/29."

Evidently war was preparing. The Servian General Staff employed the time in fortifying the central position at Ovtche-Pole. The Greeks, after increasing their Macedonian army by the addition of the regiments released by the capture of Yanina, also tried to take up advanced positions in the area of Bulgarian occupation, at Pravishta and Nigrita. Tile pourparlers with Turkey, which had been resumed in London, were dragged on to give time to complete these preparations. On May 6, the Servian General Staff laid down the preliminary dispositions for concentrating to the east of Uskub. From May 15, a military convention and plan of concerted operations with Greece were under discussion. The Bulgarians, on the other hand, hastened to make peace with the Turks; this agreed, they diverted their armies from Adrianople and Tchataldja towards Macedonia and the Serbo-Bulgarian frontier. On either side preparations were made when a final diplomatic duel took place. Throughout, the opening of hostilities was never lost to sight. On May 12/25, Mr. Pachitch finally despatched to Sofia propositions relative to the revision of the treaty. He justified the new Servian demands by two classes of reasons. First, the clauses of the treaty had been modified in application; secondly, external circumstances not foreseen by the


treaty had profoundly changed its tenor. The clauses of the treaty had been violated by the fact that the Bulgarians had not given the Servians military assistance, while the Servians for their part had aided the Bulgarians. The refusal to leave the Adriatic on the part of the Servians, and the occupations of Adrianople and Thrace by the Bulgarians, constituted two new violations of the treaty. Servia then was entitled to territorial compensation; first, because the Bulgarians had not rendered the promised aid; second, because Servia had assisted the Bulgarians; third, because Servia had lost the Adriatic littoral while Bulgaria had acquired Thrace. This time Mr. Pachitch was in accord with public opinion. This same public opinion had its influence on the Bulgarian government. Since the treaty of February 29/March 13 remained secret, the public could not follow the juridical casuistry based on a commentary on this or that ambiguous phrase in the text. The public renounced the treaty en bloc and would have nothing to do with the "contested zone." If the Servians transgressed the terms of the treaty in their demands Bulgarian diplomatists greatly inclined to act in the same way.If the Servians demanded an outlet on the Aegean as a necessary condition of existence after the loss of their outlet on the Adriatic, and insisted on a coterminous frontier with Greece to secure it, Mr. Danev left the allies and contravened the terms of the treaty when he laid before the Powers in London a demand for a frontier coterminous with Albania in the Debra region. At the same time Mr. Danev went against his ministerial colleagues and followed the military authorities in refusing to hand over Salonica. Austria appeared to have promised it him, after promising the Vardar plain to Servia. Thus on the one hand complications and broils were being introduced by the perversion to megalomania of the National Ideal: on the other (this was the standpoint of Guechov and Theodorov), there was the endeavor to safeguard the alliance. With Servia drawing near to Greece, Bulgaria had to join hands with Roumania if it were not to find itself isolated in the peninsula. This was what Austria Hungary wanted, and it favored the policy. Roumania accepted, but on condition of receiving the recompense assured it by a secret convention with Austria in the event of war with Bulgaria: annexation of the Tourtoukai-Baltchik line. On these conditions Roumania would remain neutral; it even promised military assistance against Turkey! But Turkey was defeated and the Ministry pretended not to want to war with the allies. Why then sacrifice the richest bit of Bulgarian territory? Austria's effort broke against these hypocritical and formal-or too simple-arguments. At bottom war was believed to be inevitable and Russia, it was thought, would do the rest. Russia threatened Bulgaria with Roumanian invasion, if it came to war. By the end of May, 'Russian 'diplomacy made a final effort to avoid conflict. While agreeing to play the part of arbiter within the limits of the alliance, Russia gave counsels of prudence. Go beyond the Servian demands for compensation, they said: despite the implicit promise the Servians made you of demanding nothing 'beyond what


the treaty gave them, agree to cede some towns outside the "contested zone," "beyond" the frontier which they had promised not to "violate."

This Russian solution, which could not satisfy the Servians, had not much chance of being accepted by the Bulgarians. The attitude taken by Russia filled the opposing parties with some doubts as to the impartiality of its arbitration. The Servians were sure that Russia had not forgotten the Bulgaria of San Stefano and the Bulgarians could not use Macedonia as a medium of exchange on the international market. On both sides the conviction was reached that the issue must be sought in armed conflict.

There was. however, one last attempt at avoiding open strife: the two initiators of the treaty of alliance, Pachitch and Guechov, arranged a meeting at Tsaribrod on the frontier. They wanted to try to reach a friendly solution of the difficulties, without any "public" or "Powers." Alas, what was possible in the month of February was no longer so in May. In the first place the "public" of the political parties was there, in Belgrade, and they did not want to leave Pachitch tete-d-tete with the Bulgarian Premier. Before starting for Tsaribrod he had to read to the Skupshtina a summary of his reasons for a revision of the treaty; they were the same he had addressed to Sofia three days earlier (see above). But thus to divulge the secrets of diplomatic correspondence was to cut off the retreat. In such circumstances the speech of May 15/28 was the death-blow to the pacifist hopes of Mr. Guechov on the eve of departure for Tsaribrod. The words attributed to Mr. Pachitch in an interview in an Agram paper are not at all improbable. "I was certain," he is reported to have said, "that the Bulgarians would reply by a declaration of war." Mr. Guechov's situation was hardly more brilliant. He, too, had to fight at Sofia against a war party; but he was not going to make concessions. When he learned on May 17/30 that the Czar Ferdinand had received the leaders of the opposition on the previous evening and received their counsels of war with approval, Mr. Guechov handed in his resignation. Mr. Pachitch did not know that on May 20/June 2, at Tsaribrod, he was speaking to an ex-Minister. Yet another issue or rather a means of delaying events was discovered: to hold a conference of the prime ministers of the allied States. On May 22/June 4, Mr. Guechov's resignation was known to all. With him the last hope of escaping war disappeared.

At this moment the Czar of Russia made a final effort. On May 26/June 8, he sent a telegram to the Kings of Servia and Bulgaria in which, while noting the suggested meeting at Salonica and its eventual continuation at St. Petersburg, he reminded them that they were bound to submit their findings to his arbitrament. He stated solemnly that "the State which begins the war will answer for its conduct to Slavdom." He reserved to himself entire freedom to decide what attitude Russia would take up in view of the "possible consequences of this criminal strife." The secret diplomatic correspondence explains this threat. If Servia will not submit to Russian arbitration "it will risk its existence." If


it is Bulgaria that resists, "it will be attacked, in the war with the allies, by Roumania and Turkey."

The threat was understood at Belgrade but merely created irritation. "Russia holds over us," it was said there, "the ever threatening danger of Austria's neighborhood, and because she knows that if she abandons us, our enemies across the Danube will hasten to exercise the severest pressure upon us, she thinks she can neglect us. * * * All favors go to the Bulgarians. We can not go any further in this direction. We have given way on the Albanian question, we can not give way in Macedonia. We can not condemn ourselves to national suicide because at St. Petersburg or at Tsarskoie-Selo it has been so decided." [These characteristic terms were recorded, some weeks later, at Belgrade by Mr. de Penennrun. See his book, Quamnfe jours de guerre dans les Balkans. Chapelot, Paris, 1914.]

In view of the tendencies of the militarist party, Mr. Pachitch sent in his resignation in his turn, on June 2/15. But the Russian Ambassador, Mr. Hartwig, was there to show the gravity of the situation and persuade the King, the members of the cabinet, the deputies, to yield to Russia's demands and unreservedly accept arbitration. Mr. Pachitch remained, and on June 8/21, Belgrade declared its willingness to accept arbitration; "without inwardly believing in it," as the Agram interviewer adds. And Mr. de Penennrun said "Mr. Pachitch had no more desire than Mr. Danev to betake himself to St. Petersburg. As a matter of fact although he endeavored to put himself in agreement with the critics and opponents in the Skupshtina, at the close of the eventful session of June 17/30, Mr. Pachitch declared that he in no way abandoned the point of view set out in his summary of May 15/28, and had accepted arbitration only because he had become convinced first, that it would proceed on an extended basis rather than within the limits laid down in Art. 4 of the secret annex to the treaty; and second, on condition that the "spheres of direction in Russia" agreed to consider the Greek-Bulgarian conflict at the same time as the Serbo-Bulgarian.

On this point the new allies had agreed; and Mr. Venizelos confirmed it in a paragraph communicated on the same day to the Temps. After Mr. Pachitch's explanations and the subsequent discussion in which the demand voiced was for the annexation of Macedonia rather than for arbitration (Mr. Ribaratz) ; and after it had been stated (Mr. Paul Marinkovits) that "the Servian people would rather trust to its victorious army than to the well known tactlessness of Mr. Pachitch," the Skupshtina reverted to the order of the day of a month previous. It renewed its decision "not to allow the vital interests of Servia to be abused." Mr. Drachkovits explained this condition which he laid down as follows: "The valley of the Vardar is a vital interest for Servia, and any arbitrament which leaves this vital need out of account could not be accepted." Some minutes before. Pachitch received in the chamber the telegram informing him of the


outbreak of hostilities. Turning pale, he withdrew. Arbitration then would not take place; and it would not be Servia's fault.

At Sofia, in fact, for military reasons to be explained, the final agony had been reached more quickly than at Belgrade. Here events were precipitated by conflict between the cabinet and the military party. As to the aim to be attained there was unanimity. The Servians must be forced to carry out the treaty and evacuate Macedonia to the south of the frontier agreed upon. But no agreement could be reached as to the means. Mr. Guechov's favorite tactics were to temporize. We have seen how under the circumstances of debate precious time had been lost both by Guechov and Pachitch. If concessions to Servia were to be made, they ought to have been made in January or at latest in February, when Mr. Pachitch proposed to act apart from the "public and the Powers," and while negotiations would still be undertaken under the most favorable conditions. If no concession was to be made, means should have been devised for resolving by force what it had been determined to regard as a question of force-"eine Macht-frage." It was then time to think of alliances and neutralities and pay for them with temporary concessions. It was necessary to know how not to yield to certain ambitions. Neither one nor the other was done. When Mr. Danev became Prime Minister, he took up with his portfolio an ambiguous position which Mr. Guechov had rightly refused: that of working for war while remaining a partisan of peace. This internal contradiction was bound to act fatally and to paralyze those who believed in action and those who opposed it alike. Mr. Danev, and, to an even greater extent, his colleague, Mr. Theodorov, continued to the end convinced that they could keep all they had acquired. Mr. Danev even wanted to get more-without risking war. The militarists knew better.

A telegram of June 8/21 from General Savov to the commander of the fourth army, describes the state of things as follows:

I. There is an alliance between the Servians and the Greeks whose object is to hold and divide the whole territory of Macedonia on the right bank of the Vardar with the addition of Uskub, Koumanova, Kratovo and Kriva Palonka for the Servians; Salonica and the regions of Pravishta and Nigrita for the Greeks. II. The Servians do not recognize the treaty and do not admit arbitration within the limits of the treaty. III. We insist that the arbitrators start from the basis laid down in the treaty, i. e; concern themselves solely with the contested zone. Since the non-contested territory belongs to us according- to the treaty, we desire that it should be evacuated by the Servians or, at least, occupied by mixed armies for such time as the pourparlers are going on. We make the same proposition to the Greeks. IV. These questions must be settled within ten days and in our sense, or war is inevitable. Thus within ten days we shall have either war or demobilization, according- as the government's demands are accepted or refused. V. If we demobilize now the territories mentioned will remain in the hands of the Greeks and the Servians, since it is difficult to suppose


that they will be peacefully handed over to us. VI. The discontent which has recently manifested itself in certain parts of the army gives ground for supposing that there is a serious agitation against war. The attention of intelligent soldiers must be directed to the fact that should the army become disorganized and incapable of action, the result will be as described in paragraph v. Reply with the least possible delay whether the state of the army is such that it can be counted on for successful operations.

The point of particular interest in this document is the indication afforded of the state of mind of the Bulgarian army, which explains why the commander was particularly anxious to have the question settled. Harvest time approached and the Bulgarian soldier who, after what he had suffered and endured during the long months of winter and spring at Tchataldja and Boulair, had then, instead of returning home, been compelled to join the army on the western frontier, had had enough. One thing or the other: it was war or demobilization: but in any case there must be an immediate decision, for uncertainty had become intolerable. This state of mind was general and several officers told Mr. Bourchier what he repeated in the Times, "If the question is not decided in a week, General Savov will no longer have an army."

It was under these circumstances that Mr. Danev summoned the Council of Ministers on the morning of June 9/22. He told his colleagues that after a sleepless night he had come to the conclusion that since, even after arbitration, it was more than likely that Servia would make war on them, it was better to carry it on now. Were the army once demobilized it would be difficult to bring it together again in the autumn. In such conditions whatever was done must be done at once. Clearly Mr. Danev was expressing the ideas of Savov. Mr. Theodorov's reply was to the point. War between Christians would be shameful after the war of liberation. They ought to go to St. Petersburg: they would get all they wanted there. If, afterwards, the Servians refused to conform to the decision of the arbiter, all Europe would be on Bulgaria's side. All the other ministers plead for peace with one exception,-Mr. Khritov, who represented the war party in the Council and who was not allowed to speak by Mr. Danev, who knew him. Mr. Danev then betook himself to the Czar's summer palace at Vrana, near Sofia, to make his report. General Savov was also present. At three o'clock in the afternoon Mr. Theodorov was summoned to explain the reasons of the "populist" party against war. Mr. Theodorov emphasized the reasons for going to St. Petersburg. Mr. Danev and General Savov gave their consent thereto. They returned to Sofia; the Council was resumed; the Russian Ambassador was summoned and the Council's decision communicated to him. A demand was added, the significance of which is comprehensible enough after what had been said, but which appeared to St. Petersburg in the guise of an ultimatum. The demand was that the arbiter should publish his opinion within sight days. It was added that Mr. Danev would start in three days. This was nearly the "ten days" of Mr. Savov's telegram. Mr. Necloudov then communi-


cated the agreeable news that Servia accepted arbitration unreservedly. The Russian government gave the Servian and Bulgarian governments four days in which to prepare their memoranda for the arbiter. On June 11/24, Mr. Theodorov received a fresh letter from the Bulgarian Embassy at St. Petersburg which strengthened his view and which he read to the Council of Ministers on the same day. It was stated there: "War will be our loss." "The Emperor and the Russian government have decided to arbitrate in conformity with and within the limits of the treaty. It was desirable to come at once since 'the absent are always in the wrong.' Otherwise Russia will not protect you in any way, France will give you no money, England and Germany will abandon you to your own resources. Since in this case Germany stands with the Triple Alliance no one can checkmate Russia's policy; Austria Hungary will not go beyond Platonic promises and Roumania finally will certainly occupy your territories while Russia can not defend you." (This letter referred to a report addressed to Mr. Danev a week previous.)

All this was opportunely said. These prognostics were later confirmed by facts. But those at Sofia who desired war drew one conclusion only,-Russia did not desire a strong Bulgaria; Bulgaria fara da se. The peace party was terrorized by the Macedonian patriots, who threatened to kill Danev at the station when he started for St. Petersburg, and to march the army on Sofia. Public opinion with few exceptions was for war. Under these circumstances the heads of the war party were ready for any risk. The timid and half initiated were told that half measures only were in contemplation, which would lead to skir-mishings such as had frequently occurred with Servians and Greeks on the disputed frontiers. If anyone thought thus, he reckoned without his host.

On June 15/28, General Savov sent the following telegram to the commander of the fourth army:

In order that our silence under Servian attacks may not produce a bad effect on the state of mind of the army, and on the other hand to avoid encouraging the enemy, I order you to attack the enemy all along the line as energetically as possible, without deploying all your forces or producing a prolonged engagement. Try to establish a firm footing on Krivolak on the right bank of the Bregalnitsa. It is preferable that you undertake a fusillade in the evening and make an impetuous attack on the whole line during the night and at daybreak. The operation to be undertaken tomorrow, 16th, in the evening.

The order to the second army is mentioned by General Savov in another telegram sent on the following day, the 16th, and even more interesting as it displays the motives which led the war party to risk action or supplied them with justifications. "In direction 24, I ordered the fourth army to pursue offensive operations and the second army as soon as it had completed its operations on Tchayasa, to begin immediately concentrating on the line marked out in order to attack Salonica. Messieurs the Generals are to bear in mind that our opera-


tions against the Servians and Greeks are undertaken without a formal declaration of war, mainly for the following reasons: (I) to bring the state of mind of the army up to a certain point and put them in a position (literal translation) to regard our allies up to today as enemies; (II) to accelerate the decisions of Russian policy by the fear of war between the allies; (III) to inflict heavy blows upon our adversaries in order to compel them to treat the more readily and make concessions; (IV) since our enemies are in occupation of territories which belong to us let us try by our arms to seize new territory until the European powers intervene to stop our military action. Since early intervention can be foreseen, it is necessary to act quickly and energetically. The fourth army must do all in its power to take Veles at any cost, because of the great political significance of such a conquest. If the operations of the fourth army permit the second will receive the order to attack Salonica."

Re-reading this, the confused and childish reasoning of a general wishing to play the politician, it is now difficult to believe that the questions of war and peace were thus decided. General Savov said later that he merely followed an order-then he was silent. A story was told in his name that the order was given by King Ferdinand, and that he was threatened with a court-martial if he disobeyed it. During the election campaign at the end of 1913 public attention was almost exclusively occupied with the question of responsibility for June 16/29 and people were at great pains to discover the culprit. The investigation is not yet complete, and we need not linger over the more or less probable rumors current. To seek for a single culprit, however, is a mistaken method, inadequate to throw light on the deeper causes of the Bulgarian national catastrophe. Not one day in June alone, but the whole course of the two wars must be surveyed in the search for the culprit. As has been said a war of liberation became a war of conquest for the satisfaction of personal ambition: but its causes, too, lay in strategic necessities; in legitimate tendencies implicit in the traditional national policy; in the auto-hypnosis of a people which had never experienced a reverse and was intoxicated by successes, justly recognized by all the world for their military glory; in a misjudgment of their opponents based on well known facts in the past and ignorance of the present; in a word in that profound belief in their cause and their star which is a part of the national character.

The events which followed on the fatal 16 and 17/29 and 30 June, may be recalled in a few words. On the evening of the 17th the pacificist ministers learned with astonishment that while Mr. Danev was preparing to start for St. Petersburg and a Russian gunboat was waiting at Varna to convey him to Odessa, war had broken out on the frontier. On the morning of the 18th, the Council of Ministers met and after a very lively discussion in the course of which the cabinet threatened to resign, General Savov was forced to give an order stopping the offensive. The General himself was retired for having given the order. At the same time the Russian government tried to stop the move-


ments of the Greek and Servian armies by the exercise of diplomatic pressure at Athens and Belgrade. There being no sanction behind the action, it was ineffectual. Two days before the outbreak of hostilities, Roumania, encouraged by Russia, declared to Bulgaria that she reserved for herself entire liberty of action in the event of war. Full advantage was taken of this, and it soon proved much more difficult to stop Roumania once in action, than to induce her to act. Next, Turkey showed itself more and more aggressive and intransigeant. A veritable avalanche of misfortunes indeed descended upon Bulgaria. A few more dates must be added. On July 1 the Greeks fell upon the Bulgarian garrison at Salonica, massacred several soldiers and took the rest prisoner. The Bulgarians could not hold the positions behind the rivers Zletovska, Bregalnitsa, Kriva Lakavitsa; they were stopped and driven back after several days' assault. On July 7 and 8, the Servian army took the offensive. On July 9, the Servians took Radovitch, the Greeks Strumnitsa. On July 11, the Roumanian army completed its mobilization and crossed the Bulgarian frontier without encountering any opposition. On July 12, the Turkish army of Tchataldja began re-conquering- Thrace. On July 21, it was at Lule Bourgas and Kirk Kilisse; on the 22d, it recaptured Adrianople, which had been hastily evacuated by the Bulgarians. On July 14, the Servians took Kriva Palanka. On July 11, Bulgaria made its first appeal for help to Europe. On the 23d of July, Ferdinand appealed to the Czar to mediate. Without waiting for the results of this last proposal Mr. Danev resigned in despair. On the 15th during the five days of the crisis the enemies' armies continued their march and the Roumanians advanced on Sofia. A telegram from King Ferdinand to Francis Joseph demanded mediation for Roumania: on his advice, Ferdinand sent a telegram directly to King Carol. He demanded the cession of the triangle Danube-Tourtoukai-Baltchik as the condition of peace. His proposition was accepted on July 21, but the Bulgarians had still to fight the Greeks who had reached the frontiers of the Kingdom at Djoumaya (25-30), while the Servians were besieging Vidine. Negotiations were at last opened at Bucharest on July 30, and a five days' armistice signed at mid-day on July 31. On August 4 it was extended for four days. The Peace of Bucharest was signed on August 10, and peace with Turkey concluded September 29, 1913. The reader may compare the boundaries established by these treaties (see the map) with the areas of occupation three months before the war. The extent of Bulgaria's losses is clear. Those who won claimed that "balance in the Balkans" had been secured, an end made of pretensions to hegemony, and peace thus secured for the future. Unhappily a nearer examination leads rather to the conclusion that the treaty of Bucharest has created a condition of things that is far from being durable. If the Bulgarian "conquest" is almost annulled by it, the Greek and Servian "conquests" are not well established. A later chapter (The War and the Nationalities) will afford abundant proof of this, and to it we refer the reader for conclusions.



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