The Macedonian Question - Origin and Development, 1878-1941
Dimiter Minchev


The twentieth century entered in Europe with an unknown up to that time rise of nationalism. Nationalistic feelings strongly provoked and supported the European war, which would be later called “The First World War”. The massacres in WW1 were not enough to cool the enthusiasm of the patriots. Versailles Peace Treaty instead of stabilizing Europe, lead to further lack of security. It was again the nationalistic banner, which provoked the war, although of course, the economic and the geopolitical considerations played much more important role.

After the Second World war the expectation that it was over with the nationalism took place. US’s intervention in Europe’s development helped the Europeans to see the world with other eyes:the most important European countries France and Germany - former enemies built the basis for the new Europe. At the same time the hard regimes in Eastern Europe did not allow expressing of nationalistic feelings, the official ideology being an internationalist one. But the fall of the Berlin wall led to liberation from the “strong hand”. Nationalism of any kind appeared again strongly. Old wounds and pains reminded for their existence. New ones appeared.

 The Macedonian question is a political and a national one. The question why it should be researched in the frames of the National Defense University is unnecessary. It has not only once happened that lecturers and students are talking about a possibility of a new war on the Balkans; and they often connect such a possibility with Macedonia. The US foreign policy is stating the Balkans as a zone of interest, although not vital. The US troops here are supposed to be increased in number in the nearest future. Americans are going to execute here important missions and even to risk the lives of their soldiers. They must understand the national problems on the Balkans.

 As a political problem the Macedonian question arose in 1878 with the Berlin Treaty. Up to that moment one could hardly find in the documents of the European diplomats this name - Macedonia. All the efforts of some contemporary historians and politicians reminding us about the full of fame years of Alexander the Great to connect them with the 19th and 20th century Macedonian political question are not correct. When after 1989 the Republic of Macedonia declared its Independence, the Greek society reacted with a strong demonstrations against the name “Macedonia”. It is well known fact that they recognized this same republic during the times when it was “Socialist Republic of Macedonia”. They even agreed with the adopted symbols of this same socialist republic. And according to those symbols, and according to that Constitution, the unification of all Macedonia is proclaimed. But they were not afraid. They felt themselves secure when Macedonia is in the hands of Serbia (Yugoslavia). And here came their hope that this state could not exist unless it enters again in Serbia. That’s why they fiercely opposed its Independence.

 Macedonian Question started in 1878 as a part of the Macedono-Thracian Bulgarian national-territorial problem. Its development is observed in several stages:

 In the research below I’ll make an attempt to study the documents and the literature, connected with the origin of the Macedonian question and the developments up to the end of the Second World War. For the American historiography there must be no doubt about the happenings in that period. And if there is such a doubt, the academic thought of the NDU must make the possible efforts to clear it. I have an information that a Canadian University is going to organize a discussion over the Macedonian question. As for the happenings during the Cold War, they will be discussible for a long time ahead. These documents are not revealed yet. Only a small quantity of evidence is at disposal.

 Nowadays there is a free, self-ruling Republic of Macedonia. It was for the first time that the population of Macedonia was asked the question - does it prefer to live in a sovereign country, or not. What would be the development of this population - its not the problem of this paper. Should it look back to its Bulgarian origin, or should it continue the road to forming a new nation - the ethic imposes that it should take the decision alone. Brothers from Bulgaria are only supposed to render assistance; they’ve done that during the whole history. (Bulgaria has sheltered more than 0,5 millions Macedonians for the last hundred years.) Nowadays Bulgaria renders assistance too: it was no other country, but Bulgaria, to first recognize the existence of the new state Macedonia; thus helping her to survive in a not so friendly surrounding.

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