Bulgaria during the Second World War

Marshall Lee Miller


PART ONE. September 1939-May 1941


1. The Outbreak of the War  13

      - Soviet Overtures to Bulgaria
      - The BKP After the Nazi-Soviet Pact
      - The Elections of 1939-40
      - The Waning of Neutrality

2. The Dobruja Crisis  24

      - The Problems of Territorial Revision
      - The Craiova Agreement and the Bulgarian Reaction

3. Competition for the Balkans  32

      - The Sobolev Offer
      - The Italian Invasion of Greece
      - Leaning Toward the Axis
      - Communist Reaction to the New Policy
      - Allied Diplomatic Efforts
      - The Bulgarian-Turkish Pact

4. Bulgaria Joins the Axis  45

      - The Soviet Protest
      - The British Break Diplomatic Relations
      - Developments in Yugoslavia

5. Operation Marita  52

      - The Bulgarian Entry into Macedonia



Chapter 1. The Outbreak of the War



WITH THE outbreak of World War II on September 1, 1939, new pressures were brought to bear on Bulgaria. The French government believed that Bulgaria was already a silent partner of the Axis because of its strong economic links to the Reich and its irredentist aspirations, which could be satisfied only at the expense of France’s allies Rumania and Yugoslavia. Consequently, France proposed to Britain that they give Bulgaria an ultimatum: issue a formal statement of neutrality or face invasion. [1] The British, however, adopted a more moderate and realistic position. Heeding the repeated admonitions of their Ambassador in Sofia, George Rendel, not to assume prematurely that Bulgaria had joined the enemy camp, they favored discreetly urging Bulgaria to declare its neutrality. Rendel reasoned that although there was little chance that Bulgaria would join the Allies, the country might be able to remain neutral. [2]


The British view prevailed. Although the request elicited criticism from, some Bulgarian officials, who observed that Britain had made no such request to any other state, the Tsar announced Bulgaria’s neutrality on September 16, 1939. [3] Once the declaration was issued, though, Britain failed to acknowledge it publicly. King George VI had sent Tsar Boris a personal letter, dated September 15, 1939, promising that Britain would respect Bulgaria’s neutrality if “it is not violated by others,” but the Bulgarians kept this letter secret at British insistence. [4] Underlying this British behavior were secret Allied plans





to invade the Balkans ; since they might later have to violate Bulgaria’s neutrality by using the country as a corridor to the Rumanian oil fields or a back door to Germany, the Allies were loath to recognize it publicly. [5] Winston Churchill, then First Lord of the Admiralty, wrote to the Foreign Secretary, Lord Halifax, “A declaration at this stage about respecting Bulgarian neutrality, would seal the death warrant of the Balkans.” [6]


The Allied plan assumed the support of the Balkan Entente, which included Bulgaria’s traditional foes—Yugoslavia, Rumania, Greece, and Turkey. [7] Allied optimism about the effectiveness of the Entente was hardly warranted by their past record of cooperation, and Bulgaria did not take the threat too seriously. Nikola Momchilov, the Bulgarian Ambassador to Great Britain, remarked that the “mutual dislike and distrust” among the Balkan states “[was] so great that they never could unite against a common foe.” [8]


Rather than oppose Bulgaria at the risk of bringing war to the Balkans, the Entente sought to draw Bulgaria into an alliance. The first steps in this direction had been taken with the Yugoslav-Bulgarian friendship pact of 1937 and the Treaty of Salonika the following year, but it was unlikely that Bulgaria would actually join the Entente without receiving substantial territorial concessions. Accordingly, Rumania proposed on September 19 that “each member of the Entente must contribute territory to the Balkan community with which to satisfy Bulgaria’s demands.” [9] The suggestion failed because no member proved willing to relinquish territory to a state whose appetite was considered insatiable.


The Germans regarded the Entente as naive for inviting Bulgaria to join without offering territory. Fritz von Papen, the German Ambassador to Turkey, acidly remarked, “No wonder this rump Bulgaria showed little enthusiasm for an alliance with her despoilers.” [10] It is doubtful, however, that Bulgaria would have joined on any terms. Such an action, as Prime Minister Georgi Kioseivanov pointed out, would have seemed unfriendly to Germany and could have dragged Bulgaria into the war. The Bulgarian government therefore declined any invitation to enter the Balkan Entente. [11]





Soviet Overtures to Bulgaria


During the first week of October 1939, the USSR offered Bulgaria a friendship and mutual assistance pact, which was subsequently rejected. Purvan Draganov, the Bulgarian Ambassador in Berlin, explained afterwards to the Germans, “Up to now, Bulgaria has never concluded any treaty of alliance of this kind, not even with Germany, with which it has close and long-standing ties.” The Bulgarian government did not wish to change this policy now, he continued, “nor, above all, conclude a mutual assistance pact with Russia first.” [12] But the Soviets did not accept the refusal as final; for the next year and a half Soviet diplomats and their Bulgarian Communist supporters repeatedly urged the Bulgarian government to accept the proposed pact. [13]


The Soviet Union’s interest in the Balkans, although not welcomed, offered Bulgaria an opportunity to exploit differences between Germany and the USSR. Since much of Germany’s influence in Bulgaria was the result of its expected support for Bulgarian irredentism, the Bulgarians hoped that the Russian overtures would stimulate a renewed German interest in their expansionist desires. Thus, on September 16, Bulgaria confronted Germany with a hypothetical question that later proved prophetic: What should be done if the USSR took Bessarabia from Rumania and offered the Southern Dobruja to Bulgaria? Ernst Woermann, the Unterstaatssekretär of the German Foreign Ministry, cautiously replied that such a move did not seem imminent, but that if the USSR should do this, “the only right course for Bulgaria would be to trust us and get in touch with us.” [14]


Bulgaria feared, however, that Hitler might be willing to sacrifice it to secure better relations with the Soviet Union. Rumors of a secret protocol between the Reich and the Soviet Union giving Russia a free hand in the Balkans so concerned Tsar Boris that on December 4 he consulted Herbert von Richthofen, the Reich’s Ambassador to Bulgaria. Richthofen denied that Russia had been granted any Balkan concessions except Bessarabia, which had once been a Russian province, but this assurance was skeptically received in Sofia. [15] Ten days





later Bulgaria again asked Germany’s attitude toward Soviet penetration into the Balkans. More revealing than the vague German reply was the original draft, which contained the following brusque admonition: “We expect that Bulgarian foreign policy will be conducted in such a way that Bulgaria does not come into conflict with the Soviet Union, in which despite all our friendship for Bulgaria and all our willingness to help her in difficult situations, we could not, in view of the present situation, support Bulgaria.” [16]


Even without the German warning, Bulgaria recognized and uneasily adjusted to the new power structure in the Balkans following the Nazi-Soviet Pact. [17] In fact, Bulgarian relations with the Soviet Union improved to such a degree that in January 1940 Yugoslavia expressed the fear that Bulgaria was drifting into the Soviet orbit. Bulgarian officials privately denied this: nothing more was involved than “prudence in the face of a strong neighbor.” [18] Boris told the British press attaché that his father, Tsar Ferdinand, had shown himself a Russophobe in a Russophile country; his son would not repeat that mistake. [19]


Then the Russian reverses in the Finnish “Winter War” (1939-40) suggested to Bulgaria and the world that the Soviet Union was not such a “strong neighbor” after all. Although eventually victorious, Russian forces suffered humiliating reverses in the early part of the campaign. The lesson was drawn that “the calculations of Berlin had been wrong on two counts—wrong in regarding Russia as a first-rate military factor, wrong in supposing that she carried influence with the laboring masses of other countries.” [20]



The BKP After the Nazi-Soviet Pact


Two dramatic events—the Nazi-Soviet Pact of August 23, 1939, and the USSR’s invasion of Poland on September 17—temporarily stunned the Bulgarian Communist Party. [*] Although the Party newspaper Rabotnichesko delo attempted to explain that the Soviet Union had to



*. The official title of the Bulgarian Communist Party during most of this period was the Bulgarian Workers’ Party (BRP); in this work, however, the term “Communist” or the initials BKP will be used throughout to avoid confusion.





resist being dragged into the war by England and France, [21] staunch Party members felt betrayed by the Soviet alliance with the Nazis. An influential pamphlet by Todor Pavlov [*] tried to justify the Soviet invasion of Poland by claiming that the USSR had only intervened to protect fellow Slavs after the disintegration of the Polish state. Since no state existed, he argued, the intervention could not really be an invasion. [22]


The Nazi-Soviet Pact may have bewildered many Party members, but ironically it put the BKP itself in a strong position. After years of persecution, the Party discovered that its new stance toward Germany coincided with official government policy. And in one important respect the Party line was even more favorable to Germany than the government position: the government refrained from caustic attacks on the Western Powers in an attempt to maintain correct if not friendly relations, but the BKP was under no such restraints. [23] It did advocate the signing of a mutual assistance pact with the USSR, but as the government’s reluctance to do so was supposedly based only on technicalities, there was no open conflict on this issue.


The Communists were therefore allowed a measure of relative freedom at a time when right-wing activity was being officially restricted because of events in Rumania. On September 22, 1939, the Rumanian Prime Minister, Armand Calinescu, was assassinated by members of the Iron Guard (a mystical and violent Rumanian nationalist organization), and it was feared that fascist groups in Bulgaria might attempt some similar action. As a result, the activities of the local right-wing groups, especially the Ratnitsi and Legionnaires, were curtailed and their members warned that they risked dismissal from government positions, universities, and the armed forces. [24] Emboldened by its new prominence, the Communist Party launched a vocal attack on the Western Allies and their Bulgarian supporters. Members of the democratic opposition were accused of advocating Bulgaria’s entry into the war on the Allied side instead of supporting the official policy of neutrality. [25] The campaign intensified



*. Pavlov, a Communist of Macedonian origin, became one of the three Regents of Bulgaria after the Communist coup of September 1944.





in mid-1940 after the Allied defeat in Norway; Britain and France were denounced as warmongers for trying to widen the war, and ridiculed as incompetents for mishandling the operation. The BKP’s Rabotnichesko delo demanded that the government take action against such opposition leaders as Nikola Mushanov, Dimiter Gichev, and Hristu Pastuhov:


“Rejected by the Bulgarian people, they see that their only hope of coming to power is to get the support of Great Britain and France... .And what is ... [the] government doing about all this? While saying Bulgaria will defend its neutrality [it] allows these Anglo-French agents to operate freely in the country.” [26]


One of the clearest indications of the Party’s improved relations with the government can be seen in the decline of Communist militancy in the May Day celebrations. In May 1939, before the conclusion of the Nazi-Soviet Pact, there had been a demonstration involving between ten and twenty thousand people, speeches criticizing German and Italian fascism, and charges that the Kioseivanov government was working with those “paid German agents”—the Ratnitsi and the Legionnaires. In 1940, however, May Day was rather quiet: only one minor clash with the police at Sofia and a few brief demonstrations elsewhere. [27]


Although a few Communist operatives and one underground press were seized during this period, the Party was able to operate with little government interference. The government even pardoned and restored the citizenship of 500 Bulgarian leftists who had fought in the Spanish Civil War. And for the first time in years, large numbers of Russian books, films, and newspapers were allowed into the country. [28]


The decline of this “era of good feeling” began with a labor dispute in Plovdiv. [29] On June 19, 1940, the tobacco workers there went on strike for a 30 percent wage increase and were quickly joined by workers in Sofia and Sliven. It is not known to what extent the strike was the result of Communist agitation, but the BKP assumed control of the movement. Although the issues were mainly economic, among the slogans were appeals for neutrality and for a friendship pact with





the Soviet Union. [30] The strike was broken within a couple of days by a combination of repression and concession: the workers were given a 15 percent raise, but all the strike leaders—including three members of the BKP Central Committee—were arrested. Despite its short duration, the strike had considerable political significance. First, it became clear that the relatively tolerant relationship between the government and the Communist Party was merely a transitory arrangement thinly veiling basically irreconcilable differences. Second, the strike revealed that the government would not tolerate any disturbances, whether political or economic in nature. Significantly, there was not another important strike until the eve of the Communist coup d’état in September 1944. Third, the regime was warned that substantial (although often exaggerated) economic unrest did exist and had to be controlled. [31]


The continuing popular sympathy for Russia was dramatically demonstrated in early 1940 when the Soviet soccer team “Spartak” arrived in Sofia. The reception at Bozhurishte airfield was so enthusiastic that the crowd reportedly tried to pick up the planes and carry them on their shoulders. The team was joyously hailed everywhere it went, and on the field it was cheered louder than the Bulgarian teams it opposed. [32]



The Elections of 1939-40


Despite occasional unrest, the political situation within Bulgaria was generally quiet during the early months of the war. But the Tsar was not satisfied. The Narodno Subranie elected in 1938 seemed outdated by subsequent international and domestic events and was now an embarrassment to the regime. Although the opposition included only a third of the deputies, it had managed to elect Stoicho Moshanov, the forty-six-year-old nephew of the distinguished opposition politician Nikola Mushanov, [*] president of the assembly, and he was well known for his pro-Allied views. [33] Tsar Boris’s dissatisfaction



*. Moshanov had changed the spelling of his name to differentiate it from that of his more famous uncle, the head of the small Democratic Party and prime minister from 1931-34.





extended even to Prime Minister Kioseivanov. Once described as “a soft pillow on which King Boris finds it convenient to sleep,” [34] Kioseivanov in 1939 no longer seemed satisfied with this role and was trying to build up his own power. [35] It was also rumored that he was involved in many “murky” personal matters, did not attend to the affairs of state, and was not in good health. The Nazis considered him sufficiently pro-German, but had recommended as early as January 1939 that the Tsar “appoint a personality stronger than the constantly ailing, easy-going prime minister, who, because of these traits and his regime of favoritism, is slowly but surely growing to be the best-hated and most derided man in Bulgaria.” [36]


The Tsar, however, did not wish to dismiss Kioseivanov before new elections could be held. On October 23, 1939, Boris directed Kioseivanov to reorganize the cabinet and then to dissolve the Narodno Subranie and call new elections for the end of the year. [37] The opposition parties faced the electoral campaign in a state of disarray. The Communists’ recent bitter attacks on the democratic opposition rendered impossible a repetition of their effective coalition of 1938. Instead, the BKP organized a narrower coalition composed only of leftist groups favoring closer ties with the Soviet Union. The Tsar, meanwhile, was determined to prevent the opposition groups from again capturing a substantial minority of the seats. Election districts were gerrymandered to an absurd degree, campaign regulations were designed to hamper opposition candidates, and, as in 1938, different voting dates were set for various electoral districts to enable the police to concentrate on a few localities each week. [38] It was therefore no surprise that the government-supported candidates won all but twenty seats in the Narodno Subranie. [*] Such outstanding opposition leaders as Stoicho Moshanov and former Prime Minister Kimon Georgiev were defeated; but among the survivors were Nikola Mushanov, Petko Stainov, and the fascist leaders Alexander Tsankov and Todor Kozhuharov.


Prime Minister Kioseivanov considered the victory a personal one.



*. Despite the political blandness of the government slate, twenty to thirty of these deputies occasionally voted with the opposition.





He was thus doubly surprised when the Tsar accepted his perfunctory offer of resignation following the elections. In addition to having lost all confidence in Kioseivanov’s ability and integrity, Tsar Boris had also been irritated by the flattery heaped upon the prime minister by his followers, who “forgot that the Bulgarian language has only three degrees of comparison—positive, comparative, and superlative—and when they applied the superlative to Kioseivanov, there was nothing higher for Boris.” [39] Kioseivanov was replaced on February 15, 1940, by Professor Bogdan Filov, who had only been in the cabinet since October. Filov—former rector of Sofia University, president of the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, and member of several foreign academies—was one of Bulgaria’s most distinguished scholars. His prestige was expected to improve somewhat the tarnished image of the premiership, and his lack of political experience was considered by the Tsar to be an asset rather than a liability because he was thus less likely to challenge Boris’s personal control of governmental affairs. Filov also had another essential qualification—he was an ardent Germanophile. [*] Another Germanophile, Peter Gabrovsky, was promoted to the key post of minister of the interior, although he had been in public affairs only since his admission to the cabinet four months before. [**] A statesman with a reputation as a moderate, Ivan Popov, was named foreign minister.



The Waning of Neutrality


Despite the increased pro-German orientation of the new government, the Tsar stated in his speech from the throne at the opening of the Narodno Subranie on February 24, 1940, that there was to be no change in Bulgaria’s policy of neutrality. Unofficially, however, there was little sympathy for the Allies, as illustrated by the cartoon in the humor magazine Papagal: Russia was depicted as the strong, friendly older brother; Germany was an admired and respected figure;



*. Ironically, Filov’s father, a Russophile military officer, was killed in the 1887 uprising against the anti-Russian government of Stefan Stambolov.


**. Gabrovsky was associated with the fascist organization Ratnitsi, which the Tsar feared and usually excluded from positions of influence.





France was a shameless prostitute; and England was first a pompous, and later a deflated, John Bull. [40]


The Tsar himself attempted to maintain a semblance of impartiality, and on several occasions went out of his way to be friendly toward British diplomats. Although this irritated the Germans, Boris was reluctant to isolate his country by severing all ties to the West. Haunted by memories of the 1918 upheaval that had forced his father to abdicate, he gave the impression that “his first thought was how to save his country’s skin and with it his own.” [41] Sir Hughe Knatchbull-Hugessen, the British Ambassador to Turkey, had a long discussion with Boris in the spring of 1940 and afterward concluded that the Tsar “was in the position of a man who knew he had no control over events and realized that whichever way the tide flowed he and his country would be swept along by it.” [42]


The turning point in Bulgaria’s relations with the Allies came in May 1940 with the German invasion of France and the Low Countries. Allied prestige, which had been seriously damaged by the failure of the Norwegian campaign earlier in the year, was virtually destroyed by the swift collapse of France. Belgium’s fate was particularly disturbing because of its strenuous efforts to remain neutral with the aid of an army about the size of Bulgaria’s and even better equipped. [43] Furthermore, Mussolini’s belated entry into the war against Britain and France deprived Bulgaria of its best example of a pro-German but neutral country. [44]


Although Prime Minister Filov reaffirmed the policy of neutrality on June 15, 1940, Bulgaria had already begun to strengthen its ties with Germany: the Gestapo, for example, was allowed to operate more freely within Bulgaria. Private contact with Western embassies was discouraged, and a rise in anti-Semitism caused many frightened Jews to request visas to Palestine. [45] The Germans were deluged with congratulations and praise from all over Bulgaria, and in turn they invited the World War I Bulgarian Commander, General Nikola Zhekov, for a tour of the battlefields of France. [46] When a performance in the National Theater in Sofia was interrupted to announce that German troops had penetrated the French defenses, the audience





spontaneously cheered and applauded for several minutes. [47] The Allied defeat in France may have resolved one problem for Bulgaria, but it revived a more serious one: Should Bulgaria move closer to Germany or to the USSR ? This problem became more acute during the summer of 1940 with the development of the Dobruja crisis.






Chapter 2. The Dobruja Crisis



ON JUNE 23, 1940, only one day after the surrender of France, Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov [*] informed Schulenburg, the German Ambassador in Moscow, that “the solution of the Bessarabian question brooked no further delay.” [1] The solution to which Molotov referred could only have meant that the Soviet Union wanted the return of this Danubian province, a part of Russia from 1812 to 1918. At ten o’clock in the evening three days after Molotov’s warning, the Soviets presented Rumanian Ambassador Davidescu with an ultimatum to be answered no later than the next day demanding the cession not only of Bessarabia but also of northern Bukovina, which had never been a part of Tsarist Russia. [**] Both territories were to be evacuated within four days, and all equipment and installations left behind in good condition. Rumania, unable to obtain support from either the Balkan Entente or the Axis, was forced to yield. [2]


Despite Molotov’s assertion that “the Soviet Government had no intention of encouraging other states to make demands on Rumania,” [3] during the same period the USSR tacitly endorsed both the



*. Technically, the Soviet Foreign Ministry (the Narkomindel) was still called a “Komissariat,” not a Ministry.


**. Bessarabia had been ceded to Russia by Turkey in 1812 by the Treaty of Bucharest; the southern part reverted to Rumania after the Crimean War but was reoccupied by Russia from 1877 to 1918. Bukovina was ceded by Turkey to Austria in 1775 and remained part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until it was united with Rumania in 1918. Seton-Watson, History of the Roumanians, pp. 555-64. The Nazi-Soviet pact of August 1939 had specifically excluded Bessarabia from Germany’s sphere of influence.





Bulgarian and the Hungarian claims against Rumania and hinted that Hungary should occupy Transylvania by force while the Rumanian armies were deployed along the Russian border. [4] Hungary’s Foreign Minister Csaky had earlier warned that Hungary would also insist on concessions if Rumania yielded to Russian demands. While Rumania was still considering the Russian ultimatum, Bulgarian Ambassador Draganov in Berlin suggested to Unterstaatssekretär Woermann that this was an opportune moment for Germany to settle the Southern Dobruja question for Bulgaria once and for all. [5]


The Dobruja was the area along the Black Sea between the Bulgarian seaport of Varna and the mouth of the Danube. [*] In 1878 Russia had awarded the northern portion to Rumania to compensate for Russia’s seizure of Bessarabia. After the Second Balkan War (1913), Rumania took the Southern Dobruja from Bulgaria by the Treaty of Bucharest, although then only two percent of the population was Rumanian. Bulgaria temporarily regained the Southern Dobruja during World War I, but the Treaty of Neuilly in 1919 restored Rumanian control. Despite Rumanian attempts to colonize the area, the census of 1930 revealed that Bulgarians still outnumbered Rumanians by two to one. [6]


In contrast to the Yugoslavs and the Greeks, who bitterly disputed Bulgarian claims to Macedonia and Thrace, “few Rumanians had ever cared very deeply” about the Southern Dobruja. [7] Rumanians were, of course, not eager to surrender any of their territory without good reason, but their main objection to a transfer of the Southern Dobruja to Bulgaria was the fear that it would encourage Hungary to demand Transylvania. [**]



*. The area of the entire Dobruja is approximately 9,300 square miles, of which 2,900 were claimed by Bulgaria. Rumanians were 19 percent of the population in the Southern Dobruja, Bulgarians 38 percent; in the north the comparable figures were 65 percent and 10 percent. (The remainder were Turks and a variety of other ethnic groups.) The total population of the Dobruja in 1930 was 815,000, of which about half lived in the south. Spector, p. 219; Seton-Watson, History of the Roumanians, p. 534.


**. Hungary had threatened in January 1940 to seize Transylvania if Rumania ceded land to Bulgaria (and Russia) without fighting. Ciano-Csaky discussions, 6.i.40 and 7.i.40, Ciano’s Diary, p.331.











The Problems of Territorial Revision


Germany and Italy, although sympathetic to Bulgaria’s claims, were concerned lest such a drastic redrawing of Balkan frontiers set the whole peninsula aflame with war. This would have disrupted the shipment of vital raw materials such as oil and chrome and could have necessitated the deployment of German troops in the Balkans. Both countries, therefore, urged that territorial revisions regarding Rumania should be postponed until after the war. Ciano wrote in his diary on June 28, 1940: “We must at any cost avoid a conflict in the Balkans which would deprive us of their economic resources. For our part we shall keep Hungary and Bulgaria from joining the conflict.” [8] The German attitude, as expressed by their Ambassador in Bucharest to his Bulgarian counterpart, was, “Germany is interested in managing an obedient Rumania, and at present tranquillity is needed in Southeast Europe.” [9]


Hungary, however, had no intention of waiting. Rumors that Magyars in Rumania were being evicted to make room for Bessarabian refugees had aroused the Hungarian government, which was further inflamed by the reports of armed clashes on the Hungarian-Rumanian border. The Hungarians also feared that if they did not move swiftly, the Russian troops occupying Bessarabia might resume their advance and occupy Transylvania. [10] Bulgaria was also impatient. On June 29, 1940, Tsar Boris told German Ambassador Richthofen that Bulgarians, although still stunned by the Soviet takeover of Bessarabia, would soon come to their senses and clamor for the return of the Dobruja. Citing the recent Communist-led tobacco-workers’ strike in Bulgaria, the Tsar said, “The situation would be intolerable if Bulgaria did not at least receive a promissory note. If not, there would be the danger of a violent revolution, followed by a very close association with Moscow.” [11]


Boris sought to avert German procrastination by warning that although the Bulgarian government preferred to receive the Southern Dobruja from Germany, it would accept it from the USSR if necessary. [12] The threat’s credibility stemmed from Russia’s being, for several





reasons, a more logical supporter of Balkan border revision than Germany. First, because the Soviet Union was not yet involved in the war and not dependent on the Balkans for raw materials, its intervention would have less serious economic consequences. Second, since Russia had already deprived Rumania of Bessarabia and Bukovina, only one additional push would have been necessary to include the Southern Dobruja in a general territorial settlement. Third, the closer the Bulgarian border moved toward Soviet territory, the greater the pressure the USSR could eventually exert on Bulgaria. And fourth, the Slavic bond between the two states could not be entirely dismissed. The Tsar realized, however, that if Russia, long-esteemed as the liberator of Bulgaria from Turkish domination, should also become the unifier, pro-Russian feeling would increase with incalculable political effects. [*] For this reason, Tsar Boris privately determined that a Dobruja settlement, when it came, would be with German assistance rather than Soviet. His threat to deal with Moscow, however, was taken quite seriously by the Germans, who remained sensitive lest any other country, even Italy, receive the credit for returning the Dobruja to Bulgaria. [**]


The Rumanian government, concerned by its inability to fight a full-scale war [***] (the premier confided to the American minister that the army had only enough ammunition for one and a half months), favored making concessions while its army was still intact, rather than suffering defeat and facing dictated terms. [13] The longer a confrontation was delayed, however, the more time Rumania had to convert from a British to a German ally, thereby increasing Germany’s reluctance to force territorial concessions. On June 1, 1940,



*. Alexander II, the “Tsar Liberator” of Russia’s serfs, was honored with the same title (osvoboditel) by the Bulgarians in 1878. In imitation, Tsar Boris assumed the title “Tsar Unifier” (obedinitel) in 1941, and one of the main streets of Sofia was renamed in his honor.


**. Draganov told Woermann, “What disturbed him especially was the danger that Bulgaria might now receive the Dobruja as a gift from the hands of the Soviet Union rather than from Germany, although he readily conceded that the entire present situation was a result of the German victories.” Woermann memo, Berlin, 27.vi.40, DGFP, 10:37-38.


***. However, in the only modern war between the two states, the Bela Kun campaign of 1919, Rumania had decisively defeated Hungary and occupied Budapest.





the Western-oriented Rumanian Foreign Minister, Grigore Gafencu, was replaced by Ion Gigurtu, who was more sympathetic to the Reich. Eighteen days later, as French armies staggered and collapsed under Hitler’s blitzkrieg in the West, Rumania’s King Carol gave an audience to Horia Sima, the leader of the fascist Iron Guard, and Rumanian newspapers shifted to a sharply critical attitude toward the Allies and the Jews. Rumania renounced the Anglo-French guarantees, and three days later Gigurtu formed a cabinet that included Sima and two other Iron Guardists. [14] Nevertheless, German special envoy Hermann Neubacher and German Ambassador Wilhelm Fabricius reportedly warned King Carol that these last-minute efforts to jump on the Nazi bandwagon would be futile. [15]


King Carol appealed to Hitler, only to be told on July 15 that in the event of a Balkan war Germany would “disinterest itself entirely from further developments in Southeastern Europe.” Germany was powerful enough, Hitler claimed, to defend itself without any help from this region and could even do without Rumanian oil, if need be; he had no desire to get involved in a Balkan war just because other countries “could not find it in themselves to permit just reason to prevail over passions and emotions.” [16] Rumania was advised to come to terms with Bulgaria and Hungary, and in return Germany and Italy would guarantee the borders of all three states.


The cession of territory was understandably an unpopular idea in Rumania. Peasants began digging trenches in Transylvania, troops were sent into the Dobruja, and resolutions were passed urging war rather than dismemberment. Feeling against Germany ran high, and an unmistakable atmosphere of defiance surrounded Rumania’s celebration on August 6 of its 1917 victory over German troops at Marasesti. But all of this was hopeless. Rumania had no outside support: even its ally, Yugoslavia, declared in favor of Bulgaria’s claim.



The Craiova Agreement and the Bulgarian Reaction


On August 21, 1940, agreement between Rumania and Bulgaria was reached at Craiova. According to the treaty signed on September 7, Bulgaria received all of the Southern Dobruja, including the





towns of Silistra and Balchik; the 110,000 Rumanians in this area were exchanged for 65,000 Bulgarians from the Northern Dobruja. [17] Bulgarians greeted the treaty with jubilation. Since Germany’s reluctance to assume the role of “unifier” was not known outside government circles, the popular celebrations accorded full credit for the settlement to the Axis. Tsar Boris, in his address to the Narodno Subranie on September 20, 1940, thanked Hitler, Mussolini, King Victor Emmanuel, Ribbentrop, Ciano, and the Hungarian government for their support. [18] Streets were renamed in honor of the Axis leaders, and on October 30 the German and Italian Foreign Ministers were awarded Bulgaria’s Order of St. Alexander. No official mention, however, was made of the Soviet Union or its leaders. [19]


Both proand anti-Soviet opposition leaders in the Narodno Subranie expressed regret that the Soviet Union’s support for the Bulgarian claims was not acknowledged in the public message of appreciation. The Russophile Petko Stainov and the fascist leader Professor Alexander Tsankov asserted that the USSR deserved equal credit with Germany, and one prominent member of the government majority, Peter Dumanov, reminded the deputies that the Soviet newspaper Izvestiya had supported Bulgaria’s position. [20] The Bulgarian Communists naturally took an active part in this effort to secure credit for the Soviet Union. At the celebration in Sofia, for example, where various orators were praising the Axis, several Communists mounted the platform and praised Stalin. [*] One speaker, Asen Panev, even claimed that “the Bulgarian people should thank not Hitler but the Soviet Union” for the Dobruja award. [21]


The Bulgarian government surprisingly did thank Great Britain for its support—prompting a German protest—but this was little noticed in the swirl of exuberance following the Craiova agreement. [22] Great Britain had decided to support Bulgaria with the hope that it might steal some of Germany’s thunder, but this belated gesture, coming at a time when British power and prestige were at their



*. Bulgaria did express appreciation privately to the Soviet Union for its moral support (see Dallin, Soviet Russia's Foreign Policy, p. 279), but this fact never became well known, even within the Bulgarian government.





nadir, accomplished little. [*] A secret British intelligence study concluded:


“Britain expressed its approval of the change, but the fact that it was made under the aegis of Germany naturally increased Axis prestige enormously, and British approval at that date had little significance.” [23]


It is important to note that the significance of the Dobruja crisis lay not in the effect it had on the Bulgarian government, which already was pro-German, but in the pro-Axis feeling it strengthened among the people. The British Ambassador in Sofia summarized this result of the settlement:


“The jubilation with which this was received took the form of enthusiastic gratitude to our two principal enemies, and did our case an infinity of harm… Many waverers who had not yet committed themselves to the German side were swept into the vortex of pro-German enthusiasm.” [24]


As a result of the Dobruja offer, Bulgaria, which had long looked to Russia as the liberator, now turned to Germany as the benefactor.



*. In a speech on September 5, 1940, Churchill said, “Personally I have always thought that the Southern part of the Dobrudja ought to be restored to Bulgaria, and I have never been happy about the way Hungary was treated after the last war.” Churchill, Speeches, 1: 246; D. E. Sargent and P. Nichols, London, 12.vii.40, FO R6416.38.9; Lukacs, p. 314. Competition for the Balkans






Chapter 3. Competition for the Balkans



FOLLOWING THE Dobruja settlement, the strained relations between Germany and the USSR continued to worsen, resulting in a period of intense diplomatic activity. An early indication of a schism was the exclusion of the Soviet Union from the Craiova and the Vienna settlements; and the ink had hardly dried on those treaties before two other German moves—the appointment of Italy rather than the USSR to Britain’s place on the Danube international commission, and the formation of the Tripartite Pact with Italy and Japan on September 27, 1940—further alarmed the Soviets. The Tripartite Pact, which the Russians regarded as a dangerous revival of the 1938 Anti-Comintern Pact, was particularly disturbing despite German assurances that the alliance did not concern the Soviet Union but was “directed exclusively against American warmongers.” [1]


The growing rivalry between Germany and the USSR focused attention on the Balkans, where each of the powers vied for dominance in Bulgaria. Although Hitler professed no interest in the region aside from Rumania’s oil fields, Germany urged Bulgaria’s adherence to the Tripartite Pact. The USSR pressed for acceptance of the proposed Soviet-Bulgarian mutual assistance pact. But the Tsar had learned from the Dobruja settlement that neutrality was not incompatible with the satisfaction of Bulgaria’s irredentist aspirations. On October 22, 1940, Boris wrote to Hitler that Bulgaria’s policy of neutrality not only had “met with the deepest approval in the hearts of the Bulgarian people” but had “accomplished another important task of our common policy, namely, the preservation of peace in the Balkans.”





Pointing out that Bulgaria’s neighbors would feel threatened by an alliance between Berlin and Sofia, the Tsar concluded: “I would be deeply grateful to Your Excellency if you would reconsider the question whether it is absolutely necessary to subject the present unequivocal and imperturbable policy of Bulgaria, which has heretofore kept our and your enemies in check, to a change which might result in immediately exhausting our modest forces, aside from the fact that full mobilization would bring to a standstill our entire economic life and the country’s production.” [2]


But Germany’s plans to intervene militarily in Greece led to intensified pressure on Bulgaria. On November 17, 1940, the Tsar and Foreign Minister Popov traveled to Germany for a meeting with Hitler, who had just concluded important discussions with Soviet Foreign Minister Molotov, and were told that all the nations of Europe, including the USSR and France, would be invited to join the Tripartite Pact. Little risk was involved for Bulgaria, Hitler said, since Germany had no designs on any Balkan country. Boris declined the offer for the usual reasons, ranging from fear of Turkey and the USSR to Bulgaria’s military unpreparedness, but he expressed willingness to cooperate unofficially. [3] When Hermann Neubacher, Germany’s special envoy for economic affairs, was asked after the war what date Bulgaria became firmly committed to the Axis cause, he replied, “All these matters had been settled by Tsar Boris’s visit to the Fuhrer on November 17, 1940.” [4] This conference seems less conclusive than Neubacher believed, however, for six days later Ambassador Draganov informed Hitler that the Bulgarian government was prepared in principle to join the Pact but wished to defer the act for the time being. Hitler listened to a long exposition of the many reasons for delay, then stated unhappily: “The decision not to sign the Pact as yet was Bulgaria’s concern. There were arguments pro and con. It was up to Bulgaria, who was best able to assess her own situation, to make the decision.” [5]



The Sobolev Offer


An important reason for Bulgaria’s hesitation was the attitude of the Soviet Union. The Soviets were concerned about Bulgaria’s negotiations





with Germany; within hours of the announcement of the Tsar’s visit in November, Molotov summoned Stamenov, the Bulgarian Ambassador in Moscow, and quizzed him on its significance. The Soviet Union, Molotov declared, favored Bulgaria’s territorial claims and was prepared to provide whatever economic assistance (food, oil, loans) the country might require, but would not tolerate Bulgaria’s becoming a “Legionnaire state” like Rumania. If Bulgaria accepted a guarantee from Germany and Italy, the Soviet Union would insist on a similar agreement. [6] Several days later, on November 25, 1940, Arkadi A. Sobolev, the Secretary-General of the Soviet Foreign Ministry, arrived in Sofia to make a high-level appeal for the mutual assistance pact first proposed in October 1939. [7] If Bulgaria accepted the Soviet pact, Sobolev told Prime Minister Filov, Moscow would have no objection to Bulgaria’s joining the Tripartite Pact as well; in fact, the Soviet Union itself would probably join soon. [8] A tempting prize was reportedly dangled before Filov’s eyes— Soviet support for Bulgarian claims not only to Greek Thrace but to all of European Turkey except the Straits. [9]


While Sobolev’s proposal was being discussed, the Bulgarian Communist Party distributed handwritten leaflets on November 28 that gave the more desirable features of the Soviet plan. The Bulgarian government had made no public mention of the proposed pact and was angry at the Soviets for trying to influence negotiations by leaking the contents of the note—a charge the Soviets denied. [10] Disclosure of the Soviet proposal resulted in a flood of letters, telegrams, and petitions from Bulgarians who demanded that their government agree to the Soviet terms. Within two months, a total of 340,000 such messages with a claimed one and a half million signatures were received by government offices, and the postal service complained of the burden. [11] Since Bulgaria’s population was only six million, the one and a half million signatures—if authentic—would have meant that almost every literate, politically conscious adult had written to the government. The London Times reported that “Bulgaria had been profoundly shaken by what may be considered as the greatest subversive activity organized from abroad in the country’s recent history.” [12]





The BKP, describing this as a real plebiscite representing the will of the people, considered the campaign highly successful. Indeed, one Western scholar has suggested that the Soviets did not expect the Bulgarian government to accept their proposals but had only made the offer to arouse public opinion and to deprive Germany of a monopoly on the territorial issue. [13]


The ultimate effect of the Communists’ public appeal, however, was to swing the Bulgarian government further from the course desired by the Soviet Union. First, the government bitterly resented both the attempt to influence Bulgaria by “street politics” and the indiscretion concerning the Sobolev-Filov discussions. [14] Second, the heavy Soviet pressure allowed the Germans to argue, as Hitler did on December 3, 1940, that “as long as the Russians knew that Bulgaria was not a member of the Tripartite Pact, Russia would try to blackmail Bulgaria in every conceivable way.” [15]



The Italian Invasion of Greece


Another reason for Bulgaria’s reluctance to commit itself openly to the Axis was the Italian debacle in Greece. Before the Italian invasion on October 28, 1940, Mussolini had realized that his attack would be considerably facilitated if Greece were simultaneously attacked by Bulgaria. Knowing that Bulgaria had strong claims on Greek Thrace and that irredentist feeling was running high, he believed that Tsar Boris would be eager to join the campaign. [16]


On October 15, Mussolini wrote to Boris, requesting his assistance and arguing that if Bulgaria ever hoped to regain an outlet to the Aegean, now was the time to act. [17] The Tsar replied that he saw the advantages of the proposal but that public opinion and fear of the Turks prevented him from doing anything at present. Mussolini, angered by the rejection, exclaimed:


“Those chicken-livered kings [regnanti senza fegato] never succeed in taking any action! We’ll do without him. Prasca’s march will be so rapid that it will draw off Greek forces in the north, even if they don’t disintegrate by every man going home.” [18]


But within a week of the invasion, initiative passed to the Greeks.





As their defense stiffened, the vaunted legions of Mussolini became objects of ridicule. The landing of British troops in Greece on November 3 and the damaging British air attack on the Italian fleet at Taranto on November 11 added to the seriousness of the Italian situation. The Bulgarian government, noting the decline in Italian prestige, hesitated to ally itself with a coalition containing such an inept partner. Indeed, Hitler wrote to Mussolini on November 20, just after the Tsar’s visit, that “Bulgaria, which showed little willingness to join the Tripartite Pact, is now completely disinclined to consider such a step.” [19] As the military situation deteriorated, Mussolini sought help from Hitler. The contempt with which these requests were first received was described later by General Jodi: “Italy was beaten, as usual, and sent the Chief of the Operations Staff of the Supreme Command to me, crying for help. But in spite of this emergency, the Führer  did not intervene.” [20]


For a while the Germans were content to let the Italians suffer the consequences of their folly and their rudeness in not informing Hitler in advance of their invasion plans, [*] but Germany could not permit Italy to be defeated, nor could British intervention in Greece go unchallenged. In early November 1940 the Germans received reports— later proved false—that the RAF was preparing an air base on the island of Lemnos, near Salonika, from which planes would be within striking distance of Bulgaria and the Rumanian oil fields. On November 6, five squadrons of British planes from Greek bases began attacks on Italian shipping. [21] Reacting to this threat, Hitler ordered his generals on November 12 to make preparations “in case of necessity” for the invasion of Greece from Bulgaria. [22]



Leaning Toward the Axis


During Boris’s visit to the Führer  he had declined to commit Bulgarian troops to such an operation, but he had privately consented on November 18 to Germany’s use of his country as a base against



*. The Italians were not eager for German assistance. As one Italian diplomat noted, German involvement in Balkan affairs “will have most unfavorable repercussions for us in a zone of vital interest to us.” Simoni, p. 196.





Greece. A small advance team of German officers under Colonel Zeitzler was sent to Bulgaria to establish fuel depots, strengthen bridges, arrange the billeting of troops, and study the terrain. Several hundred Luftwaffe personnel in mufti arrived to construct air observation stations, and by December 1940 German troops in Bulgaria numbered several thousand. The Bulgarian government nevertheless publicly maintained that there were no German troops in the country. [23]


Prime Minister Filov traveled to Vienna on January 2, 1941, ostensibly for medical reasons but actually to discuss Bulgarian policy with Hitler and Ribbentrop at Obersalzberg. Filov explained that the government still harbored misgivings about joining the Axis and listed the usual excuses: Turkey, armament deficiencies, the USSR, and Yugoslavia. Hitler completely dismissed all these objections except Russia. But even the USSR, he argued, was an unconvincing threat because Stalin was too much the realist to risk war with Germany. Any delay in joining the Tripartite Pact, Hitler warned, could doom Bulgaria to the same fate as the Baltic states, which had already been absorbed by the Soviets. Hitler added that the conflict with Greece was deplorable, but it provided Bulgaria an opportunity to satisfy its Aegean aspirations without even having to participate directly. Germany requested only that the Bulgarian army concentrate along the Turkish border to discourage a threat to the flank of the invading force. Although Filov was unable to extract a promise to receive Salonika or Yugoslav Macedonia, he assured Hitler that Bulgaria would eventually join the Tripartite Pact: “The only misgivings he had were that accession at this particular moment might create complications which could cause inconvenience to Germany as well as Bulgaria.” [24]


Foreign opinion was divided about whether Bulgaria would ever actually join. In Italy, for example, Mussolini was convinced that Bulgaria would sign the Pact, “If only to reconcile itself more easily to the passage of German troops through the country”; but Count Magistrati, Ciano’s brother-in-law and Secretary of the Italian Embassy in Berlin, believed that “Bulgaria will not openly array itself with the Axis but will allow itself to be invaded without even





perfunctory opposition.” [25] To the Bulgarians, however, there seemed to be no realistic alternatives to an alliance with the Axis. In the words of the Ambassador to Sweden, N. P. Nikolaev, “The German invasion was inevitable, but if they came as enemies it would be worse for our country; it would be better to have them as friends provided that they spared us from participation in the war.” [26]


The shift in Bulgaria’s foreign policy was paralleled by a marked shift on the domestic political scene. As early as October 28, 1940, the day Italy invaded Greece, observers noted that Tsar Boris’s address to the Narodno Subranie lacked the usual phrase “peace and neutrality.” A government spokesman, Nikolai Nikolaev, explained that since there was no longer any hope of Bulgaria’s remaining uninvolved, the old phrase had become “defeatist propaganda and dangerous pacifism.” [27] By December 1940, the word “neutrality” had become so unacceptable that when an opposition leader, Petko Stainov, used it in an article in the respected newspaper Mir, the censor replaced it with the word “peace.” [28]


Although the Assembly on December 26 rejected Alexander Tsankov’s resolution urging Bulgaria’s immediate entry into the Tripartite Pact, the pro-Axis trend in Bulgarian policy was unmistakable. [29] A Bulgarian version of the German labor organization Kraft durch Freude had been founded in September 1940, and a Bulgarian equivalent of Hitler Jugend named Brannik (“defender”) was organized two months later. [30] In December, the Assembly enacted legislation against the Jews and groups with international affiliations such as the Masons, Rotary, and the Pen Club. Ironically, Prime Minister Filov found himself obligated to resign as president of the Bulgarian Pen Club. [*]


Accompanying these measures were a series of official and semiofficial acts of friendship toward Germany. Bulgarians began contributing to the German Winterhilfwerk soon after the Craiova settlement in August, and by November significant deliveries were reported. Tsar Boris awarded the Grand Cross for Civil Merit to the



*. These laws will be discussed in detail in Chapter 9.





German Ambassador, while Bulgarian holders of Germany’s Iron Cross were invited to the Reich as guests of the German army. In addition, the politically powerful Bulgarian League of Reserve Officers pointedly sent a large quantity of fine cigars to the German troops occupying Neuilly, where the hated peace treaty had been signed after World War I. [31]


The leaders of the democratic parties opposed this trend on January 18, 1941, by publicly advocating a continuation of neutrality. Two weeks later fifteen Communist and Pladne Agrarian opposition deputies demanded that the Narodno Subranie condemn any plans for the entry of German troops into the country and acknowledge the rumors that the Soviet Union had offered Bulgaria a friendship pact. [32] Prime Minister Filov did meet with two opposition representatives, Atanas Burov and Vladimir Karakashev, on February 8, 1941, but Tsar Boris declined their request to meet with him. [33] Public opinion also remained unsettled. According to a German intelligence report, much would depend upon the reaction to the arrival of German troops in Bulgaria. The entry of Soviet troops, the report admitted, would probably be accepted more easily. [34] The Slovak chargé d’affaires estimated that supporters of Russia outnumbered those of Germany by two to one and predicted that “a mass change of opinion by the general population against Germany could occur suddenly if Germany should suffer setbacks.” [35]



Communist Reaction to the New Policy


The Bulgarian Communists attempted to enlist this latent pro-Russian feeling in their campaign for a treaty with the USSR. They had become disillusioned with the policy of collaboration and, unlike Communist organizations in other countries, were now sharply critical of the Germans. [36] Moreover, the Party cadres resented the way the Bulgarian government’s Dobruja victory had won over many potential Party supporters who found nationalism more appealing than internationalism. It is unlikely that the BKP, traditionally so subservient to the Soviet Union, was acting solely on its own initiative





in criticizing Germany. This exception may have been allowed because of German moves into what the Soviet Union regarded as its own security zone.


In September 1940 the BKP issued a polemical “Appeal to the Bulgarian People,” which blamed Germany for creating anti-Russian feeling in the Balkans and attacked the Bulgarian government for allowing a flood of German “fifth columnists” into the country. The following month the clandestine Party newspaper indicted Germany as the Soviet Union’s “enemy number one.” [37] In late 1940 the “Sobolev campaign” focused Party efforts on gathering support for the pact with Russia. The Seventh Plenum of the BKP Central Committee, meeting in Sofia in January 1941, listed its basic tasks as (1) waging a determined struggle against the entry of Bulgaria into the war; (2) securing the acceptance of the pact of friendship and mutual assistance with the Soviet Union; and (3) achieving the union of all the Bulgarian people in a truly broad national front around the Bulgarian-Soviet pact. [38]


On January 13, 1941, Soviet displeasure with Bulgaria and Germany was revealed by a TASS communique denying foreign press reports that German troops were being sent to Bulgaria with Soviet approval:


1. If German troops really are present in Bulgaria and if further dispatch of German troops is taking place, then all this occurred and is occurring without the knowledge or consent of the USSR, since the German side never raised with the USSR the question of the presence of German troops in, or their dispatch to, Bulgaria.


2. In particular, the Bulgarian Government never approached the USSR with an inquiry regarding the passage of German troops to Bulgaria and consequently never could have received any reply from the USSR. [39]


The response to this protest was disappointing to the Soviets. Newspapers in Germany merely printed the message without comment, and diplomatic circles remarked on the unusual mildness of the communique. Even those diplomats generally inclined to find divergences in German and Soviet policy believed on this occasion that the Soviet Union had disinterested itself in Bulgarian affairs. [40]





Seeing that this protest had little effect, the Soviets delivered another that was more specific. Directed ostensibly at British and Turkish moves that could have transformed Bulgaria into a theater of military operations, the note declared:


The Soviet Government has stated repeatedly to the German Government that it considers the territory of Bulgaria and of the Straits as the security zone of the USSR and that it cannot be indifferent to events which threaten the security interests of the USSR. In view of this, the Soviet Government regards it as its duty to give warning that it will consider the appearance of any foreign armed forces on the territory of Bulgaria and of the Straits as a violation of the security interests of the USSR. [41]


Ribbentrop replied on January 21 that the Reich had no intention of violating any Soviet security interests, “nor would this by any means be the case if German troops march through Bulgaria.” [42]


A stronger Russian attitude was revealed to certain diplomats. The Soviet Ambassador in London, Ivan Maisky, told Nikola Momchilov, the Bulgarian Ambassador, that the Soviet Union was willing to assist Bulgaria and Turkey “if German troops should enter or march through either country against its will.” [43] The Soviet military attaché in Sofia went even further and told the Bulgarian Minister of War that “if Bulgaria let German troops pass through its territory it would mean war between Russia and Bulgaria.” [44]



Allied Diplomatic Efforts


Great Britain also attempted to discourage Bulgaria from slipping completely into the Axis camp. Hoping to provide an alternative, Britain had earlier offered Bulgaria a guarantee of its independence and territorial integrity if it did not aid Britain’s enemies or become one itself. On October 12, 1940, King George VI had reaffirmed this commitment in a letter to Tsar Boris, adding that the British government “has never supported a policy based on rigid adherence to the status quo.” The Bulgarians only poked fun at the British guarantees: Sotir Yanev said sarcastically in the Narodno Subranie that Britain was offering to guarantee the independence Bulgaria already possessed. [45] On a more clandestine level, Britain decided that the secret





Special Operations Executive (SOE) should step up its activities in the Balkans, especially in Bulgaria, where there was virtually no Allied intelligence network. A young agent, Julian Amery, [*] was sent from Belgrade to examine the possibilities in Bulgaria, but he only managed to arouse the ire of the British Ambassador, who thought the SOE was preparing a coup behind his back.


Britain’s influence was so slight because, in the words of the Foreign Office, it was not “in a position either to bribe or to threaten.” [46] Seeking to lend a hand, President Roosevelt sent a personal representative, the legendary Colonel William J. (“Wild Bill”) Donovan, to visit various Balkan leaders in January 1941. Donovan went first to Athens, then to Sofia amidst speculation that he would announce the U.S. entry into the war in a few weeks. [47]


Nothing so momentous occurred. After an inconclusive interview with the Bulgarian foreign minister, Donovan met Filov. Since the Bulgarians had “neglected” to provide an interpreter for this meeting, the session was understandably brief; but Filov did get the impression that the American emissary “was very belligerent and was not interested in hearing about peace until the Germans were finally crushed.” [48] The meeting with the Tsar went much more smoothly, although Donovan had difficulty in eliciting a firm statement from Boris about anything. Donovan told him that America intended to support Great Britain and warned him of the consequences of collaboration with the Nazis. Boris gave the impression that he was still trying to avoid trouble with Germany, whereupon Donovan asked him if the following summary represented the Bulgarian attitude: “That Germany is still uncertain as to what you will do in the event that she demands passage through your country; but that if a decision is forced and you are no longer able to delay, you will then permit Germany to come through, although you will not participate with her.” Boris just looked Donovan in the eye and smiled. [49]



*. Amery later was a liaison officer with the Albanian guerrillas and then Churchill’s personal representative in the 1945 meeting with Chiang Kai-shek. In 1950 he became a Conservative M.P. and in 1962 the Minister of Aviation in the government of his father-in-law, Harold Macmillan. Sweet-Escott, Baker Street Irregular, pp. 53, 60.





Donovan was favorably impressed with the Tsar as “honest, idealistic, and devoted to peace,” but he noted in his diary “I fear he has been so successful in maneuver that he places too great reliance on it.” [50] After Donovan had left, American Minister Earle informed Washington that the visit had impressed the Bulgarian government: “it may not prevent the unmolested passage of German troops through Bulgaria but it very possibly may prevent the cooperation between the Bulgarian and German troops.” [51] Uncertain threats from a faraway country, however, could not compensate for overbearing pressure from a Great Power with troops on the Bulgarian border.



The Bulgarian-Turkish Pact


Attempting to balance German pressure, Britain from the outset of the war encouraged Bulgaria’s neighbors to threaten war if Bulgaria entered the Axis alliance. Strong and concerted action from the Balkan Entente was unlikely from the first, and out of the question after the Italian invasion of Greece and the entry of Nazi troops into Rumania and Hungary, but Britain did hope that Turkey would cooperate. The Turks were nominally allied to Britain, had a large if outmoded army, and still inspired fear among the Bulgarians. [52] The goal of British policy, as Churchill told Lord Halifax on November 26, 1940, was to get Turkey to declare that “any move by Germany through Bulgaria to attack Greece or any hostile movement by Bulgaria against Greece will be followed by an immediate Turkish declaration of war.” [53]


Turkey’s attitude was ambiguous. In late November 1940, Turkey hinted to Bulgaria that a nonaggression guarantee might be given “provided Bulgaria did not engage in any hostile acts.” [54] The Germans favored such an arrangement because it would safeguard their flank in the event they went to the aid of the Italians in Greece—as they were to do in Operation Marita in March 1941. But the Turkish Minister to Sofia, Ali Berker, indicated that the entry of German troops into Bulgaria might itself be a causus belli. Having just declined a Russian pact, the Bulgarian government felt unable to accept a Turkish one. [55] The negotiations were further disturbed by





Turkish maneuvers along the Bulgarian border (“purely for defensive purposes”) in early December, and by a Bulgarian decree changing all place names of Turkish origin. [56] As late as February 5, 1941, the Turkish newspaper Yeni Sabah challenged German propaganda claims that Turkey would not intervene if German troops entered Bulgaria: “Any power which penetrates into the Turkish zone of security is giving notice of her intention not to respect Turkey’s frontier.” [57] Such statements were becoming less credible as German strength in Rumania and Hungary grew to several hundred thousand men. [58]


Rather than risk national suicide, the Turks decided that “if they could do nothing to ensure the continued neutrality of Bulgaria, at least they could concentrate on remaining neutral themselves.” [59] Turkey therefore proposed an agreement based on the 1925 Bulgarian-Turkish friendship treaty, subject to the reservation that previous commitments by the two countries would not be affected. Bulgaria accepted, and a nonaggression pact was signed on February 17, 1941. The British Ambassador in Sofia lamented the effect the pact would have on Bulgaria: “This let us down badly, and it was no longer possible for King Boris or anyone else in Bulgaria to plead the danger of possible Turkish or Yugoslav reactions as a reason for not letting the Germans in.” [60] The American reaction from Ankara was that “an agreement not bad in itself has in the end taken a form that lends itself so readily to misrepresentation. The local Axis representatives are jubilant.” [61]






Chapter 4. Bulgaria Joins the Axis



ON MARCH 1, 1941, Bulgaria yielded to German pressure and finally signed the Tripartite Pact in Vienna.' Prime Minister Filov explained that Bulgaria was joining the Axis Powers not only because of their assistance in obtaining the Southern Dobruja, but also because the Pact would “secure for the nation the possibility of developing in peace, strengthen its welfare, and safeguard a just and permanent peace.” [1] Friendly relations with the Soviet Union and Turkey, he emphasized, would not be affected. That same day, Ribbentrop officially informed Filov that Bulgaria would receive an outlet to the Aegean between the Struma and Maritsa rivers. [2]


Upon his return from Vienna, Filov was applauded by the Narodno Subranie. No debate was allowed on the vote to ratify the treaty, and an interpellation by seventeen opposition deputies was blocked. Only one man, a little-known representative from Yablanitsa named Ivan V. Petrov, managed to ask why the Assembly had not been consulted beforehand and whether the Pact would involve Bulgaria in the war. Filov replied that Article 17 of the Constitution required only ratification by the Assembly, not consultation; as for the danger of war, he said, “There is a small risk, but those who will not run risks are the ones who never do anything.” The Pact was ratified 140 to 20. [3]


Even Hitler recognized the superficiality of Bulgarian enthusiasm for the Pact: “I was struck to learn after the conclusion of the Tripartite Pact that the President of the Bulgarian Ministerial Council





was scarcely acclaimed by the population of Sofia, despite the major importance of the Pact to Bulgaria. The fact is that Bulgaria is strongly affected by Panslavism both on the political and on the sentimental level. It is attracted by Russia, even if sovietized.” [4] Yet German troops entering Bulgaria received a genuinely warm welcome. Inhabitants of many villages met the advance elements of the Twelfth Army with the traditional bread and salt and were hospitable in every way. [5] Officials in Berlin were delighted that the march was without incident. [6] Even the Bulgarian government, according to a German report, “was surprised by the great sympathy which the people showed to the German troops.” [7] Filov subsequently claimed that this reception served as a “true plebiscite on the policy of the government,” [8] but many of the villagers were under the impression that, since Germany and Russia were allies, the incoming German soldiers would march alongside the Russians in a joint operation. [9]



The Soviet Protest


Although Filov believed the Russians would “reconcile themselves to the situation and do nothing,” [10] his first request on the morning after the signing was for news of the Soviet reaction. Ribbentrop claimed nothing was yet known, but in fact the Soviet government had already delivered a protest to the Germans. In this note, Molotov


expressed his deep concern that the German Government had in a matter of such importance to the Soviet Government, made decisions contrary to the Soviet Government’s conception of the security interests of the Soviet Union. The Soviet Government had repeatedly stressed its special interest in Bulgaria to the German Government, both during the Berlin conferences and later. Consequently, it could not remain indifferent in the face of Germany’s last measures in Bulgaria and would have to define its attitude with regard thereto. It hoped that the German Reich Government would attach the proper significance to this attitude. [11]


On March 3,1941, Pravda published a brief announcement, not prominently headlined and without comment, revealing only that German troops had entered Bulgaria; [12] but the following day Izvestiya sharply criticized Bulgaria’s new policy “inasmuch as this position results,





regardless of the desire of the Bulgarian Government, not in the strengthening of peace but in the expansion of the sphere of war and in the involvement of Bulgaria in the war. Secondly, the Soviet Government, true to its policy of peace, cannot therefore render any support whatever to the Bulgarian Government in the conduct of the latter’s present policy.” [13] This message was broadcast by Radio Moscow on the Bulgarian language program for the next three days, and the leading Bulgarian Communists were informed privately of the USSR’s disapproval. [14] On March 6, the BKP belatedly distributed leaflets declaring “The Bulgarian nation retains no confidence in the present government and refuses to support its anti-popular policy.” [15]


The Bulgarian censor issued no instructions to the newspapers concerning the Soviet protests and made no attempt to prevent their publication. [16] Some observers were surprised at the relatively mild protests, as a Soviet ultimatum was expected and direct military intervention was considered a possibility. Speculation from Belgrade, according to German Ambassador Ulrich von Hassell, centered upon the “heavy blow” dealt the Pan-Slavic movement by Russian inaction. [17]



The British Break Diplomatic Relations


The signing of the Tripartite Pact signaled the beginning of a full-scale campaign against British interests. As early as February 1941 police harassments had reached ominous proportions. On February 24 a British consular official named Greenwich disappeared without a trace. On the 26th, about fifty persons described by Radio Berlin as in the employ of British intelligence were arrested in Sofia. Two days later a number of journalists, including the correspondents of the London Times and the Chicago Daily Mail, were arrested, as were about thirty opposition leaders. Dr. Georgi M. Dimitrov (“Gemeto”), one of the leading Pladne Agrarians, was smuggled out of the country in a packing case with the help of the British intelligence representative in Sofia, Norman Davis. [18] The British Embassy was ordered closed on March 1, the same day that Sofia police claimed





to have found a bomb of British origin near the city waterworks. Bulgaria also broke diplomatic relations with the British-based governments-in-exile of Belgium, Holland, and Poland, but did refuse to hand over their representatives in Sofia to the Germans. [19] The Bulgarian Ambassador in London, Nikola Momchilov, resigned in protest against his government’s actions. [20]


In response to these provocations, Great Britain officially severed relations with Bulgaria on March 5, 1941. Ambassador Rendel, in rejecting Filov’s allegations that Britain had endangered peace in the Balkans, maintained that the British government was “not aware that such peace and tranquillity had ever been threatened or disturbed by any power which was not a member of the Tripartite Pact.” [21] When Rendel warned Filov of the implications of an alliance with Germany, Filov haughtily replied that the Bulgarian government needed no advice on how to preserve its independence. Rendel angrily retorted that this remark would be remembered “and it might prove to be important to have it on record for a future peace conference that the Bulgarian Prime Minister had assumed full responsibility for the consequences of his policy.” [22] Tsar Boris, after listening to a similar warning from Rendel, merely replied that Bulgaria suffered from its geographical position; he expressed no regrets at the rupture of relations with Britain. [23]


On March 11 the British Embassy staff arrived in Istanbul and proceeded to the Pera Palace Hotel. While they were waiting with their luggage in the lobby, two of the suitcases exploded, killing two diplomats and wounding seven. Two Turkish policemen were also killed and a score of Turks injured. The two suitcases, plus an unexploded third, were thought to have been placed among the other luggage by German or Bulgarian agents at the Sofia railroad station. However, some officials in London believed that the explosives in the suitcases belonged to the SOE. One SOE official, Bickham Sweet-Escott, recounts that he had a very difficult time trying to explain that his secret organization was not involved: “it would be an understatement to say that suspicion was cast on us.” [24]





Boris had little reason to be grateful to Britain. Until British intervention in Greece aroused Germany’s attention, Bulgaria had been able to avoid an alliance with anyone; and yet the British effort to aid Greece never had more than the slightest chance of success. [25] In retrospect, if Bulgaria had remained uncommitted until June 1941 when Germany invaded the Soviet Union, it is possible that Bulgaria could have avoided joining the Axis despite the government’s sympathy for Germany. [26]



Developments in Yugoslavia


Since Bulgaria’s territorial claim on Macedonia conflicted directly with Yugoslavia’s, most Bulgarians naturally hoped that Yugoslavia would not seek Germany’s favor by joining the Pact. The cooperation of Yugoslavia, however, seemed essential to the success of Operation Marita, for Hitler wanted to use Yugoslav lines of communication and protect the flank of his armies passing through Bulgaria. The Yugoslav government initially rejected Germany’s demands, but the neutralization of its ally Turkey by the Bulgarian-Turkish agreement and the adherence of Bulgaria to the Axis on March 1 complicated its position. On March 4, 1941, the Yugoslav Regent, Prince Paul, told Hitler at Berchtesgaden that his cabinet might accept the Tripartite Pact if four generous conditions were met: first, a territorial guarantee; second, no transit for German troops; third, no active participation in the war; and fourth, access to the Aegean at Salonika. [27]


Tsar Boris, unlike most of his people, wanted Yugoslavia to sign the Pact, for he feared that Yugoslav stubbornness might upset the precarious stability of the Balkans and precipitate a war that could endanger his country and his throne. [28] For this reason, in mid-March 1941, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister, Ivan Popov, and War Minister Teodor Daskalov conveyed to Yugoslav Ambassador Milanovich the “friendly advice” that Yugoslavia should sign the Tripartite Pact. “Milanovich was very surprised by this advice,” General Daskalov later wrote, “and asked whether we knew that Yugoslavia in this





case would receive Salonika and that we must forego Macedonia. Popov replied that we realized this; it was now not a question of territorial gains but of saving our countries.” [29]


Under pressure from Germany, on March 25, 1941, the Yugoslav government signed the Tripartite Pact in Vienna. Germany promised to respect Yugoslavia’s territorial integrity, not to send troops through that country, and to permit the eventual cession of Salonika. [30] Although the Yugoslav leaders promised very little in return, Hitler observed that their behavior at the signing ceremony reminded him of a funeral. [31] Bulgarian reaction was mixed. Prime Minister Filov wrote in his diary that “everyone was very pleased,” [32] and Ulrich von Hassell, who was in Sofia at the time, wrote: “Here in Bulgaria a feeling of relief seems to prevail at the moment. How the atmosphere will be when one realizes that Yugoslavia has made demands is an open question The Bulgarians follow the affair with mixed emotions.” [33]


Von Hassell was correct in predicting Bulgarian dissatisfaction upon learning the details of the agreement. Many Bulgarians felt the opportunity of obtaining Macedonia was worth the risk of war. A leading Bulgarian industrialist, Ivan Balabanov, related to von Hassell the general reaction after Bulgarians learned of the German concessions to Yugoslavia: “The Axis lost twenty percent of its followers here in the last twelve hours. Reserve officers who associate freely with Germans have received threatening letters.” [34] Hitler, however, was delighted at Yugoslavia’s adherence because, as he told Ciano, action against Greece would otherwise have been “militarily an extremely foolhardy venture.” [35]


The Yugoslavs, instead of being relieved, reacted with anger. Riots and demonstrations against the Pact broke out in many cities, especially in Serbia, and several army units mutinied. On March 27, 1941, the commander of the Yugoslav air force, General Dushan Simovich, and General Bora Mirkovich staged a successful coup d’état against the government of Prince Paul. The Prince was deposed and forced into exile, and seventeen-year-old King Peter was proclaimed monarch in his own right. [36] Churchill declared, “Yugoslavia has found its soul.” [37]





The coup was acclaimed throughout Yugoslavia by crowds of demonstrators who displayed Allied flags and chanted anti-Nazi slogans. [38] Although General Simovich refrained from renouncing the Tripartite Pact, Hitler was enraged by the coup and decided “to destroy Yugoslavia militarily and as a national unit.” [39] The Macedonian question, Hitler told von Ribbentrop, could now be settled in Bulgaria’s favor. [40]






Chapter 5. Operation Marita



ON APRIL 6, 1941, German troops stormed into Greece and Yugoslavia. The Greek defenses along the Bulgarian border were quickly outflanked, and the secondary defenses at the Aliakmon line south of Salonika were breeched. The Greek army and the hundred thousand men of the British expeditionary force in Greece were forced to retreat toward Athens. [1] German forces also entered Yugoslavia and pushed deep into the country without encountering substantial resistance. The Luftwaffe razed Belgrade, bombed the port of Athens, and ranged at will over the battlefields.


Although Bulgaria had declined to participate directly in the invasions, its role as a German staging area made it a target for British air attacks. On the first day of the campaign, six RAF Wellington bombers attacked the marshaling yards at Sofia, and a group of Blenheim bombers hit the railroad line leading from Sofia into Greece. The bombing, according to American Minister Earle, was “accurate and effective.” [2] On April 13, British bombers staged a three-hour night raid on Sofia, setting ablaze a number of buildings around the main railroad station and blowing up an ammunition train. [3]


These bombings had an effect on Bulgaria far out of proportion to the actual damage inflicted. [4] After the second attack on Sofia, there was widespread panic and a mass exodus from the city. The authorities hoped to still the alarm by mentioning the raids only briefly on the radio and in the press; instead, they only fueled the rumor that Sofia had been completely destroyed. [5] In addition, since the British raids had coincided with the presence of vulnerable ammunition





trains in the marshaling yards, both the Bulgarians and the Germans assumed that Britain had agents in Sofia who were furnishing accurate intelligence on troop and supply movements. The Bulgarian police proceeded to arrest scores of people on the slightest suspicion of espionage, sabotage, or contact with a hostile foreign government. [6] Leaders of the political opposition with Western sympathies were placed under close watch and their homes searched. [7] The newspaper Mir, the most objective and respected in the country, was temporarily forced by the censors to suspend publication. [8]


The Communists, however, were not included in this roundup of political dissidents. In fact, those leaders who had been arrested in February 1941 or who had not been included in the October 1940 amnesty were now released. [9] They emerged from prison into a confusing new situation. Many of their former sympathizers had been won over by the government’s nationalist policy; even some of the leaders were wavering. According to German intelligence, only the old dyed-in-the-wool (eingefleischte) BKP labor leaders continued in active opposition to the government. [10]



The Bulgarian Entry into Macedonia


Although Bulgaria had refused to participate in the campaign, Yugoslavia claimed that Bulgarian troops were fighting alongside the Germans and asked Turkey to fulfill its obligations under the Balkan Entente. Numan Menemenchoglu, the General Secretary of the Turkish Foreign Ministry, replied that his government had been assured that Bulgarian troops were not participating in the German operation but promised to take action if the situation changed. [11] Despite the fact that Bulgaria was not participating militarily in the campaign against Yugoslavia, it did encourage the pro-Bulgarian Macedonians to undermine the vanishing authority of the Yugoslav government. A committee had formed in Skopie espousing the union of Macedonia with Bulgaria, and the Tsar decided on April 11 to send Danial Krapchev, the editor of the influential pro-government newspaper Zora, to meet with the committee to coordinate propaganda for Macedonia. At the same time, he sent Professor Yaranov to German-occupied Salonika on a similar mission. [12] What the Bulgarian leaders





apparently feared most were the autonomist tendencies among some of the Macedonian groups; therefore they made every effort to encourage those favoring union with Bulgaria. [13]


On April 15, Bulgaria officially broke diplomatic relations with the Yugoslav government on the grounds that Yugoslav soldiers had made a number of unprovoked attacks on Bulgarian border posts since the first of the month, that air raids had been made on Bulgarian towns despite Bulgaria’s neutrality, and that members of the Yugoslav Embassy in Sofia were in contact with subversive elements. [14] On the same day, Germany recognized the independence of Croatia and declared the state of Yugoslavia dissolved. Bulgaria could thus enter Macedonia without technically violating the Balkan Entente. On April 19, Bulgarian troops occupied Skopie. [15] Only then did the Greek government sever relations with Bulgaria. [16]


Once again, Bulgaria received part of its national patrimony from the hands of the Germans. The alliance with the Axis had quickly borne fruit and pro-German feeling increased. The few people who had retained trust in the Western powers were disillusioned by Britain’s defeat in Greece and were reluctantly forced to agree with Filov’s statement that the Marita campaign had “once again proven the almost criminal folly of a small country opposing a great mechanized nation.” [17]


Bulgarian-American relations deteriorated rapidly after the launching of Operation Marita. President Roosevelt announced that the United States rejected the argument that the Yugoslav state was dissolved, and thus he considered Bulgaria’s occupation to be an invasion. [18] The Bulgarian government complained to the U.S. about this attitude, claiming it would “create a painful effect” in Bulgaria. Under Secretary of State Sumner Welles replied that this was precisely the desired intention: Bulgaria’s recent actions “could only be interpreted here as an indication that Bulgaria was committed heart and soul to the Axis policies.” [19] Minister Earle in Sofia was even more pessimistic about the new course of Bulgarian foreign policy:


The Bulgarians are an intensely practical people. German propaganda has magnified in their eyes the new territory given them until they are now





wholeheartedly with Germany. They now think of the Bulgaria a thousand years ago reborn. I am forming the impression, and every day it is stronger, that Germany will take this hard-bitten and grateful Bulgarian people and use them as a nucleus to build a powerful nation, strongly equipped with the most modern and mechanized weapons, whom Germany can depend upon to guard for her southeastern Europe. [20]


The Bulgarian government remained relatively unconcerned about relations with other countries because of the increased intimacy with Germany. Hitler and the Tsar met in Vienna on April 18, 1941, to determine the boundaries of the Bulgarian occupation zone in Macedonia before the Italian delegation arrived the next day. During this cordial meeting, Boris thanked Hitler for the “mighty assistance of allied Germany,” and Ribbentrop praised their “common destiny” and the “renewed Waffenbrüderschaft” from the First World War. [21]


The Bulgarians expressed their gratitude to the Reich in other ways. For example, they solicited donations for the German soldiers wounded in the Marita campaign. Although described as gifts from the Bulgarian people, most of the money was contributed by banks and organizations doing business with the Germans. [22] Even so, the feeling in Bulgaria was one of euphoria. The anti-German opposition leader Nikola Mushanov expressed delight at the attainment of Bulgaria’s national goals and declared, “The Bulgarian nation is happy, and rightly so.” [23] Another anti-German Bulgarian politician gave an excellent description of the attitude prevailing in Bulgaria in the period following the Nazi Balkan campaign:


We were all intoxicated by the idea that for the first time in history we would get our just due, which we had demanded in vain for so long. To be sure, we had somewhat of a bad conscience because we had not fought for and conquered but rather received it as a gift.


Also, we had the strange feeling that it was a lovely dream from which we would have a horrible awakening one of these days. But in general, all of us, from the most extreme nationalist to the Communists, were satisfied over the successes which Hitler’s New Order in the Balkans had brought. [24]






Chapter One


1. Report by Eric Phipps, 26.viii.39, FO R6822.790.7.


2. See Rendel, Sofia, 11.v.39, FO R3971.790.7; and 1.viii.39, FO R6825.1118.7. Rendel served as British Ambassador to Bulgaria from June 1938 until March 1941.


3. Reported by Palairet, Athens, 9.ix.39, FO R7370.790.7; XXV-NS, 1st reg. sess., 27th sitting; see also G. Stefanov, “Bulgarie: La politique extérieure,” p. 2.


4. George VI to Boris, 15.ix.39, FO R7477.790.7.


5. Rendel, p. 166; see also the secret document “Anglo-French Liaison: Military Policy in the Balkans,” 20.L40, FO R1033.5.67.


6. Churchill to Halifax, 24.ix.39, FO R7979.790.7.


7. Butler, p. 66; Reile, p. 323; Germany, Foreign Office, Geheimakten; Weygand, Mémoires, 3: 28-39.


8. Toynbee, Eve, p. 129.


9. Gafencu, p. 260.


10. Von Papen, p. 456.


11. Ibid., pp. 455-56; Talamo, Sofia, 25.xi.39, DDI, 2: 274.


12. Report of Weizsäcker-Draganov discussions, Berlin, 1939, in DGFP, 8: 277.


13. Istoriya na Bulgaria, p. 357.


14. Woermann report, Berlin, 18.ix.39, DGFP, 8: 93.


15. Richthofen, Sofia, 4.xii.39, DGFP, 8: 84-85.


16. Weizsäcker report, Berlin, 15.xii.39, DGFP, 8: 533—34.





17. Boris to King Victor Emmanuel of Italy, 10.xii.39, DDI, 2: 418-19.


18. Reported by U.S. Ambassador Lane in Belgrade, 12.1.40, FRUS 1940, 1: 454.


19. Rendel, Sofia, 27.i.40, confidential, FO R1570.4.7, p. 32.


20. Blücher, German Ambassador to Finland, quoted in D. Clark, p. 89; see also Rendel, Sofia, 30.xii.39, FO R249.249.7; The Times (London), 6.i.40.


21. Rabotnichesko delo (Sofia), 8.ix.39.


22. Pavlov, Protiv.


23. Materiali, p. 142; Nelegalni, pp. 229-31.


24. Kazasov, Burni godini, p. 644.


25. Materiali, p. 142; Nelegalni, pp. 230-31. Kioseivanov’s policy was described as “the only correct stand at the moment” (Pavlov, Protiv). The democratic opposition did not advocate joining the Allies but opposed joining the Axis (interviews, Bulgaria).


26. Rabotnichesko delo, issue of May 1940, cited in Rabotnichesko delo: Izbrani, pp. 346-47.


27. Tsanev, Purvomaiskite.


28. Penchev, Nelegalnite, p. 397; Morgenblatt (Agram [Zagreb]), 30. v.40, DAI-808.


29. Oren, Bulgarian Communism, p. 153.


30. Kodzheikov, pp. 258-60; Rendel, Sofia, 10.vii.40, FO R7044.38.7; Istoriya Bolgarii, pp. 246-49; Bochev, “Kum vuprosa”; TsDIA, f. 370, op. 1, arh. ed. 780; Materiali, pp. 144-45; Istoriya na Bulgaria, p. 369.


31. See XXV-NS, 1st reg. sess., p. 769; Statisticheski; Koen, “Ograbvaneto.”


32. Lukacs, p. 359; Padev, Escape; Pravda, 12.viii.40; DAI-808.


33. Richthofen, Sofia, 20.vii.39, DGFP, 6: 944-45.


34. Todorov, Balkan Firebrand, p. 274. Kioseivanov was so described by Soviet Minister Raskolnikov.


35. Kazasov, Burni godini, p. 649.


36. Richthofen, Sofia, 17.1.39, DGFP, 5: 371-73; DBA, Reichskanzlei files, R4311.1428a, folio 1, 4.vii.39.


37. La Parole Bulgare (Sofia), 29.x.39.


38. BIN, 16.2: 1326; Kazasov, Burni godini, p. 648. The election dates were December 24, 1939, and January 14, 21, and 28, 1940.


39. Kazasov, Burni godini, pp. 650-51. See also New York Times, 16.ii.40 and 17.ii.40; Der Bund (Bern), 26.ii.40, in DAI-808.


40. Rendel, p. 164.


41. Knatchbull-Hugessen, pp. 157-58.


42. Ibid.


43. Rendel, Sofia, 15.v.40, 22.v.40, and 28.v.40, FO R6196.4.7.





44. Badoglio, p. 15. Italian Foreign Minister Ciano advised Bulgaria to follow “a moderate course” and thus “preserve peace in the Balkans.” TsDIA, AMVnshR, pap. 80, op. 8, por. 532, p. 158; Talamo, Sofia, 13.ix.39, DDI, 1: 120-21.


45. Rendel, pp. 170-71.


46. Zora (Sofia), 1.viii.40; Völkischer Beobachter (Vienna), 23.v.40; Heifaer, ed., Hitlers Lagebesprechungen, pp. 120-21. In 1942 Germany gave General Zhekov an annual pension, which the Narodno Subranie made tax-free.


47. Mir (Sofia), 18.vi.40. An article in another Sofia newspaper stated: “Bulgaria received Pétain’s words with double joy, for they signify that peace is near and that the troubles of 1919 have been torn asunder.” Slovo, 18.vi.40.



Chapter Two


1. Schulenburg to Ribbentrop, Moscow, 23.vi.40, Nazi-Soviet Relations, p. 155.


2. Hitler revealed on June 22, 1941, that he had “advised acquiescence in the Soviet Russian demands—the cession of Bessarabia.” Dallin, Soviet Russia’s Foreign Policy, p. 237n; Ciano's Diary, 28.vi.40.


3. Reported by Schulenburg, Moscow, 26.vi.40, Nazi-Soviet Relations, p. 160.


4. Degras, p. 458; Macartney, October Fifteenth, 1: 404-5.


5. Ciano-Csaky discussions, Venice, 6.L40 and 7.1.40, Ciano’s Diary, p. 331. Draganov-Woermann discussions, Berlin, 27.vi.40, DGFP, 10: 37~38'


6. Plelmreich, pp. 380-406; Zhebokritskii, pp. 226-50; Anuarul Statistic al Romaniei 1939-40, Bucharest, 1940; Roberts, p. 355.


7. Wolff, p. 192. Similar statements have been made by Seton-Watson (Eastern Europe, p. 401) and Waldeck (p. 133). For the contrary view, see Spector, p. 156.


8. Cianos Diary, 28.vi.40. Italy’s reply to Bulgaria’s request for support was that the Italian government “was sympathetic toward Bulgaria’s just claim and had requested her only to keep calm.” Richthofen, Sofia, 29.vi.40, DGFP, 10: 550; Magistrati, Sofia, 1 .vii.40, DDI, 138.


9. AMVnshR, 4.ix.39, pap. 141, op. 7, por. 789, p. 3; G. Stefanov, “Vunshnata politika,” p. 424.


10. Toynbee, Initial Triumph, p. 324; Macartney, October Fifteenth, 1: 405.


11. Woermann memo of Boris-Richthofen discussions in Sofia, Berlin, 28.vi.40, DGFP, 10: 47.


12. Woermann memo, Berlin, 27.vi.40, DGFP, 10: 37-38.





13. Earle, Sofia, 17.vii.40, DOS Archives, 740.0011, Eur. War ’39, 4709; BIN, 17.2: 911-12; Gunther, Bucharest, 2.vii.40, FRUS 1940, 1: 488. The American Minister to Bulgaria thought a Dobruja settlement was necessary; otherwise “the King and the Government might be forced by the army to take military steps.” Earle, Sofia, 27.vi.40, FRUS 1940, 1: 482. See also Horthy, p. 133; Hillgruber, Staatsmänner, p. 164; The Times ( London ), 5. viii. 40.


14. Hillgruber, Hitler, König Carol, pp. 70ff; Gheorge, pp. 50ff; BIN, 17.1: 691.


15. Waldeck, pp. 109-10. The Rumanian government’s arrest of General Ion Antonescu at Predal on July 9, 1940, further chilled Rumanian-German relations.


16. Hitler to Carol, 15.vii.40, DGFP, 10: 217-20.


17. Ribbentrop, Fuschl, 16.vii.40, DGFP, 10: 173-74, 221-22; Hitler-Filov-Popov discussions, Obersalzburg, 27.vii.40, DGFP, 10: 244-45, 332-41; Earle, Sofia, 30.vii.40, FRUS 1940, 1: 496.


18. Magistrati, Sofia, 17.vii.40, DDI, 5: 246-47. Rumania and Hungary were unable to reach an agreement, however; on August 30 Germany and Italy imposed a settlement—the second Vienna Award—that gave Hungary most of Transylvania.


19. XXV-NS, 1st special sess., 1st sitting, 20.ix.40, p. 1.


20. Slovo, 4.x.40; DBA, Reichskanzlei files, R4311.14286.


21. XXV-NS, 1st reg. sess., 2d sitting, 21.ix.40, p. 36; 2d reg. sess., 13th sitting, 21.xi.40, p. 282; Türkische Post (Istanbul), 1.xii.40.


22. Ivan Georgiev, p. 436. Present-day Communist histories ignore Germany’s role in the award: e.g., Istoriya Bolgarii, pp. 250-51; Kosev, Kratka, p. 265.


23. FO, Bulgaria, p. 9; see also Rendel, Sofia, 18.ix.40, FO R8150.38.7.


24. Rendel, p. 171; Rendel, Sofia, 10.ix.40, FO R7599.613.7, p. 266.



Chapter Three


1. Although Germany defended the exclusion by pointing to Russia’s own unilateral action in the Baltic States, the result was—according to Ciano—that “the dream of an understanding with Russia had vanished forever in the rooms of the Belvedere at Vienna.” Ciano's Diary, 19.ix.40, p. 291; Narkomindel to Ambassador Schulenburg, Moscow, 21.ix.40, Nazi-Soviet Relations, pp. 190-94; Vneshnyaya politika SSSR, pp. 35-41, 527; Gafencu, pp. 65-84; Ribbentrop to German Chargé in Moscow, Berlin, 25.ix.40, top secret, Nazi-Soviet Relations, p. 195. An editorial by a leading Bulgarian fascist, Todor Kozhuharov, in Slovo, 27.ix.40, ridiculed all rumors of a schism.


2. Boris to Hitler, 22.x.40, DGFP, 11: 364-65.





3. Earle, Sofia, 21.xi.40, conversation with Foreign Minister Popov, FRUS 1940, 1: 529-30; Haider, 5: 26 (November 1940); Greiner, p. 240; Papen, Sofia, 22.xi.40, conversation with Boris on 21.xi.40, DGFP, 11: 651—53; memo by Hewel (on Ribbentrop’s staff), Berlin, 23.xi.40, Hitler-Draganov conversations, DGFP, 11: 672-78 ; Steinhardt, Moscow, 27.xi.40 and 29.xi.40, FRUS 1940, 1: 631-32; Dallin, Soviet Russia’s Foreign Policy, p. 281; Beloff, p. 359.


4. DOS Records, Interrogation Mission, “Hermann Neubacher,” 1946; see also Rendel, Sofia, 12.xi.40, very confidential, FO R8431.4.7.


5. Hitler-Draganov conversations, DGFP, 11: 672-78.


6. Richthofen, Sofia, 21.xi.40, DGFP, 11: 647; Papen and Richthofen, Sofia, 22.xi.40, DGFP, 11: 652; Woermann to German Embassy in Moscow, Berlin, 22. xi. 40, DGFP, 11: 653-54.


7. Chichovska, Sobolevata aksiya.


8. Richthofen, Sofia, 26.xi.40, top secret, DGFP, 11: 712-14.


9. Statement of Popov to Earle, 25.xii.41, Sofia, 27.xii.41, FRUS 1941, 1: 336; DOS Bulletin, 18.vii.48, p. 69; Utro (Sofia), 6.iv-43; enclosure to memo by Hewel on Hitler-Draganov talks, Berlin, 3.xii.40, DGFP, n; 772-73.


10. Richthofen, Sofia, 28.xi.40 and 30.xi.40, DGFP, 11: 726, 757.


11. Valev, p. 14; Bochev, “Kum vuprosa,” p. 49; Materiali, p. 148.


12. The Times (London), 11.xii.40.


13. Pundeff, “Bulgaria’s Place,” p. 319.


14. Report of Popov’s discussions with Soviet Minister Lavrishchev, Richthofen, Sofia, 30.xi.40, top secret, DGFP, 11: 757; Rendel, Sofia, 30. xii. 40, FO R32.32.7.


15. The Soviet notes of 6.xii.40 and 18.xii.40 kept the controversy alive. Richthofen, Sofia, 19.xii.40, DGFP, 11: 908.


16. Mussolini, Memoirs, p. 182.


17. Badoglio, p. 27.


18. Ibid., p. 28.


19. Hohlfeld, p. 257; DGFP, 11: 638.


20. Colonel-General Alfred Jodi, Chief of Wehrmacht Operations, Staff of the OKW, questioned by Dr. Exner, 5 .vi.46, IMT, 6: 342-43.


21. Haider, 4.xi.40 and 5.xi.40, 5: 6-8; Churchill, Second World War, 2: 474; Langer and Gleason, Challenge, p. 108; IMT v. Jodi, pt. II, p. 216; Greiner, pp. 238-41; the official British version of the Lemnos report is found in Butler, p. 369.


22. Trevor-Roper, Hitler’s War Directives, “Directive No. 18.” The directive that actually laid forth the plans for the invasion of Greece (Operation Marita) was No. 20, issued 13.xii.40 {ibid., see pp. 46, 48).





23. Greiner, pp. 240, 248. The Tsar was described as taking a very hesitant attitude (in merklicher Zurückhaltung) toward tire German operation. See “German Military Preparations in the Balkans,” Führerhauptquartier, 21.xii.40, DGFP, 11: 940. Also, for over a year, three or four German radio stations had been operating in Bulgaria. Hitler-Draganov conversations, Berlin, 23.xi.40, DGFP, 11: 677; Steinhardt, Moscow, 30.xii.40, FRUS 1940, 1: 538; Ambassador Karl Ritter (on special assignment) to Ribbentrop, Berlin, 23.xii.40, DGFP, 11: 937-38; Earle, Sofia, 8.x.40, DOS Archives, 762.74.54.


24. Hitler-Filov-Ribbentrop discussions, Obersalzburg, 4.1.41, DGFP, 11: 1018-27.


25. Conversation between Mussolini and German Ambassador Mackensen, Rome, i.i.41, DGFP, 11: 997-98; Ciano’s Diary, 13J.41, p. 327. Ciano himself had thought on January 2 that Filov’s trip meant Bulgaria was finally joining the Axis.


26. Nikolaev, p. 173.


27. XXV-NS, 2d reg. sess., 15th sitting, 22.xi.40, 1: 304-5.


28. Ibid., 36th sitting, 28.xii.40, 3: 966. The original sentence read: “The Bulgarian people have always been and today remain committed to the idea of neutrality.”


29. Ibid., 37th sitting; BIN, 18.1: 31.


30. DNB, Kraft durch Freude, Sofia, 18.ix.40, in DAI-808; XXV-NS, 2d reg. sess., 25th-28th sittings, Vol. I, “Za organizirane na bulgarskata mladezh.”


31. Deutsche Beobachter, 26.xi.40, Schwarzwälder Bote (Württemberg), 16.viii.40, Odenburger Zeitung, 5.x.40, all in DAI-808.


32. SD-Ber., Berlin, 6.0.41, T120 1305.485407; BIN, 18.1: 193, 227.


33. Filov, Dnevnik, 8.ii.41. The delegation was told that since all parties had been officially abolished the Tsar could not meet with men claiming to be party chiefs. This same excuse was used by Prime Minister Bagryanov in late summer 1944, with more serious results.


34. The first mention in a Bulgarian newspaper of German intervention appeared in Mir on January 6, 1941, based on an article in II Regime Fascista stating that because of the British threat in Greece, German troops would soon join the fight there. SD-Ber., Berlin, 28.1.41, secret, T120 1305485377-


35. Quoted in SD-Ber., Berlin, 30.i.41, secret, T120 1305.485377.


36. Lukacs (p. 770, n13) has pointed out the later advantage this was to the BKP.


37. Neue Züricher Zeitung, 16.ix.40. See the speech by Peter Dumanov, XXV-NS, 2d reg. sess., 14th sitting, 21.xi.40, p. 285.


38. Materiali, p. 50.


39. TASS communiqué, 134.41, in Degras, p. 482.





40. Schulenburg, Moscow, 14.1.41, DGFP, 11 : 1100-1101.


41. Weizsäcker, memo to Ribbentrop, Berlin, 173.41, DGFP, 11: 1122-23.


42. Ribbentrop to Weizsäcker, Fuschl, 21.i.41, DGFP, 11: 1155-56.


43. Memo by Weizsäcker, Berlin, 133.41, DGFP, 11: 1081.


44. The Bulgarian reaction, however, was that this was only a private opinion not based on official instructions from Moscow. Ibid.


45. Statement by the Undersecretary of State for Foreign Affairs in answer to a question in the House of Lords on September 5, 1940. George VI to Boris, 12.x.40, FO R8600.320.7. Yanev quoted in Lavoro Fascista, 1.xii.40.


46. FO, Bulgaria, p. 9.


47. Donovan later became head of the OSS (the forerunner of the CIA) and a major general. SD-Ber., Berlin, 213.41, T120 1305.485351; Earle, Sofia, 143.41, DOS Archives, 874.00.628; FRUS 1941, 1: 279; SD-Ber., Sofia, 253.41, T120 1305.485368, 1305.485371-72; SD-Ber., Berlin, 28.L41, T120 1305.485378.


48. Filov, Dnevnik, 213.41; Richthofen, Sofia, 223.41, DGFP, xi: 1160-61.


49. Donovan Papers, from Langer and Gleason, Undeclared War, pp. 397-98. During the discussion Boris told Donovan: “I must avoid a head-on collision with a stronger nation; I must not run the risk of having my country overrun without first attempting to reduce the shock.” Ford, p. 100.


50. Langer and Gleason, Undeclared War, p. 398; Ford, p. 102; Earle, Sofia, 21.i.41, DOS Archives, 740.001, Eur. War ’39, 7729; FRUS 1941, 1: 282.


51. Earle, Sofia, 233.41, DOS Archives, 740.0018, Eur. War ’39, 71.


52. Rendel, p. 171; Ciano’s Diary, 19.x.40, p. 299.


53. Churchill, Second World War, 2: 4-84; see also Langer and Gleason, Undeclared War, p. 393; Lukacs, p. 349.


54. Richthofen, Sofia, 26.xi.40, DGFP, 11: 712-14.


55. Hitler to Mussolini, Vienna, 20.xi.40, DGFP, 11: 641; Rihbentrop to Richthofen, 28.xi.40, DGFP, 11: 725; Richthofen, Sofia, x.xii.40, DGFP, 11: 759-60; Weizsäcker, Berlin, 13.xii.40, SSF, T120 265.172536; Richthofen, Sofia, 12.xii.40, SSF, T120 585.242817-18; Richthofen, Sofia, 30.xi.40, SSF, T120 585.242788-89.


56. Foreign Minister Popov, XXV-NS, 2d reg. sess., 20th sitting, 3.xii.40, 1: 416; Völkischer Beobachter (Vienna), 22.xii.40. The Bulgarian press suggested that all Turkish family names should be changed as well.


57. Yeni Sabah, 5.0.41, cited in BIN, 18.1: 194.


58. Rendel, p. 172.





59. Ibid.


60. FRUS 1941, 1: 289.



Chapter Four


1. BIN, 18.1: 293-94; Earle, Sofia, 6.iii-41, DOS Archives, 740.00T8, Eur. War ’39, 8831.


2. Ribbentrop to Filov, Vienna, 1 .iii.41, DGFP, 12: 203.


3. Filov, Dnevnik, 2.iii.41; Kazasov, Burni godini; Earle, Sofia, 2.iii.41, FRUS 1941, 1: 294.


4. Trevor-Roper, Hitler’s Table Talk, 3t.iii.42, p. 179.


5. Interviews, Bulgaria; see also Reile, pp. 333-34; Busch-Zanter, p. 217.


6. Hassell, p. 187.


7. SD-Ber., Berlin, ri.iii.41, T120 105.485447. A contrary view was given by Earle: “The peasants and workers sullenly resent the arrival of German troops, especially since it brings the war so close to them.” Sofia, 4.iii.4i, DOS Archives, 740.001, Eur. War ’39, 8762; FRUS 1941, 1: 295-96.


8. Filov, Bulgariens Weg, speech of 19.xi.41, p. 18.


9. Interviews, Bulgaria; see also Rendel, p. 162.


10. Filov, Dnevnik, 1.iii.41.


11. Schulenburg, Moscow, 1.iii.41, Nazi-Soviet Relations, pp. 278-79.


12. Pravda, 3.iii.41; in DOS Archives, 740.00TT, Eur. War ’39, 8733.


13. Reported by Steinhardt, Moscow, 4.iii.41, FRUS 194T, r: 296; Izvestiia, 4.iii.41.


14. Dallin, Soviet Russia’s Foreign Policy, p. 285; Haider, 3.iii.41, 6: 13; Sohl, “Die Kriegsvorbereitungen,” p. 106; interview, Bulgaria.


15. Materiali, pp. 151-52.


16. SD-Ber., 5.iii.41, T120 T305.485439; Richthofen, Sofia, 11.iii.41, Bulgarian note enclosed, DGFP, T2: 274-75.


17. Hassell, 23.iii.41, p. T92; Rendel, Sofia, 8.iii.41, FO R2T9T.86.7.


18. Earle, Sofia, rr.ii.41, DOS Archives, 121.67.1576; and 24.ii.41, DOS Archives, 740.0018, Eur. War ’39, 8578. BIN, 18.1: 227-28; FO, Bulgaria, p. 10; Sweet-Escott, Baker Street, p. 56.


19. G. Stefanov, “Vunshnata politika”; FO, Bulgaria, p. 10.


20. Filov, Dnevnik, 3.01.41.


21. Ibid., 5.iii.41; BIN, 18.1: 357.


22. Rendel, Sofia, 26.iii.41, FO R3269.36.7; Woodward, p. 134n.


23. Ibid.; see also Filov, Dnevnik, 3.iii.41 and 6.iii.41; G. Stefanov, “Vunshnata politika.”


24. Sweet-Escott, Baker Street, p. 56; see also Busch-Zantner, p. 218.


25. Churchill, Second World War, 3: 90-91. The respected military critic B. H. Liddell Hart wrote in March 1941 that Great Britain was making





a serious mistake in getting bogged down in Greece, inviting another Dunkirk at a time when victories in Africa could arouse flagging spirits. Daily Mail (London), 21 .iii.41. See also Papagos, p. 309; Playfair, 1: 384; Greece, Genikon Epiteleion Stratou, Agones; Butler, p. 444.


26. This also was the opinion, for example, of the German counterespionage chief in Bulgaria, Colonel Wagner; Reile, pp. 326-27.


27. Haider, 8.iii.41, 6: 19. On March 6, 1941, the Yugoslav cabinet voted unanimously in favor of acceding to the Tripartite Pact but took no immediate action.


28. Statement of the Tsar’s Chief Chancellor, Svetoslav Pomenov, before the People’s Court in December 1944, AMVtrR, II Naroden sud-12, p. 188; Charova, “Die deutsche Aggression,” p. 541; see also AMVtrR, II Naroden sud-14, p. 276.


29. Daskalov statement, AMVtrR, II Naroden sud-14, P8.


30. Germany, Foreign Office, Dokumente, pp. 128-29.


31. Ribbentrop, p. 225.


32. Filov, Dnevnik, 25.iii.41.


33. Hassell, 25.iii.41, p. 193.


34. Ibid.


35. IMT, case against Jodi, 7.xii.45, PS-2765, exhibit GB-124, 2: 220.


36. Hoptner, p. 275; see also Ristich; Chulinovich, Dvadeset sedmi mart; Milovanovich; Trago; Stojadinovich; Pavelich.


37. Churchill, Speeches, 27.iii.41, 1: 373, 375.


38. Macartney and Palmer, Independent, pp. 441-42; Auty, Tito, pp. 158-61; Frauendienst.


39. Directive No. 25, 27.iii.41, in Trevor-Roper, Hitler’s War Directives, p. 61; Greiner, p. 273; Hillgruber, Hitlers Strategie, pp. 464-65; IMT, 28: 22-23.


40. Telegram from Bulgarian Ambassador Draganov in Berlin; Filov, Dnevnik, 28.iii.41.



Chapter Five


1. Schmidt-Richberg; Schramm von Thadden; KTB, “Der Balkan Feldzug 1941,” OKH, H 10-317; interviews, Munich; Churchill, Second World War, 3: 203-4; BIN, 18.1: 516; Cervi, pp. 275ff.


2. Playfair, 2: 86; Earle, Sofia, 7.iv.4i, DOS Archives, 740.0011, Eur. War ’39, 9769.


3. BIN, 18.1: 558; Earle, Sofia, 14.iv.41, DOS Archives, 740.0011, Eur. War ’39, 9959. Earle visited the scene and protested to Britain about the bombing of the open city; SD-Ber., 24.iv.41, T120 1305.485466.


4. Lukacs (p. 374) described the Sofia night bombing as a “strategic operation which had some psychological effects but did no harm at all to the Germans.”





5. SD-Ber., 22.iv.41, T120 1305.485462.


6. Earle, Sofia, 22.iv.41, DOS Archives, 740.0011, Eur. War ’39, 10202; and 9.v.41, DOS Archives, 740.001, Eur. War ’39, 10781.


7. SD-Ber., 21.iv.41, T120 1305.485457.


8. SD-Ber., 2.v.41, T120 1305.485469.


9. SD-Ber., Berlin, 24.iv.41, T120 1305.485466.


10. Ibid.


11. Menemenchoglu, Sofia, 10.iv.41, DGFP, 13: 503.


12. Filov, Dnevnik, 11.iv.41.


13. BIN, 18.1: 511. The Bulgarian occupation of Macedonia is discussed in Chapter 11.


14. BIN, 18.1: p. 586.


15. Filov, Dnevnik, 17.iv.41.


16. Telegram from Popov to Bulgarian Legation in Ankara, 17.iv.41, printed in Naroden sud, 18.xii.44, p. 16.


17. Earle, Sofia, 11.iv.41, FRUS 1941, 1: 304.


18. American Chargé d’Affaires Morris, Berlin, 16.iv.41, FRUS, 1: 306; DOS Bulletin, 26.iv.41, p. 495.


19. Memo by Welles, Washington, 26.iv.41, FRUS 1941, 1: 307-8.


20. Earle, Sofia, 27.iv.41, FRUS 1941, 1: 308-9.


21. Morris, Berlin, 25.iv.41, FRUS 1941, 1: 306-7; Filov, Dnevnik, 18.iv.41 to 20.iv.41; Greiner, p. 286.


22. The city of Sofia donated 100,000 leva, but the Macedonian Bank contributed 500,000 and the Union of Exporters gave over 2,500,000. Wochenschau (Sofia), 15.iv.41, DAI-879.


23. XXV-NS, 3d reg. sess., 12th sitting, 14.xi.41, 1: 162.


24. Quoted in Bretholz, p. 46.


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