Balkan Wars

1914 Jan 1



The Second Balkan War left Serbia as the most militarily powerful state south of the Danube.[96] Years of military investment financed by French loans had borne fruit. Central Vardar and the eastern half of the Sanjak of Novi Pazar were acquired. Its territory grew in extent from 18,650 to 33,891 square miles and its population grew by more than one and a half million. The aftermath brought harassment and oppression for many in the newly conquered lands. The freedom of association, assembly and the press guaranteed under the Serbian constitution of 1903 were not introduced into the new territories. The inhabitants of the new territories were denied voting rights, ostensibly because the cultural level was considered too low, in reality to keep the non-Serbs who made up the majority in many areas out of national politics. There was a destruction of Turkish buildings, schools, baths, mosques. In October and November 1913 British vice-consuls reported systematic intimidation, arbitrary detentions, beatings, rapes, village burnings and massacres by Serbs in the annexed areas. The Serbian government showed no interest in preventing further outrages or investigating those that had taken place. [97]

The treaties forced the Greek Army to evacuate Western Thrace and Pirin Macedonia, which it had occupied during operations. The retreat from the areas that had to be ceded to Bulgaria, together with the loss of Northern Epirus to Albania, was not well received in Greece; from the areas occupied during the war, Greece succeeded in gaining only the territories of Serres and Kavala after diplomatic support from Germany. Serbia made additional gains in northern Macedonia and having fulfilled its aspirations to the south, turned its attention to the north where its rivalry with Austro-Hungary over Bosnia-Herzegovina led the two countries to war a year later igniting the First World War. Italy used the excuse of the Balkan wars to keep the Dodecanese islands in the Aegean which it had occupied during the Italo-Turkish War of 1911 over Libya, despite the agreement that ended that war in 1912.

At the strong insistence of Austria-Hungary and Italy, both hoping to control for themselves the state and thus the Otranto Straits in Adriatic, Albania acquired officially its independence according to the terms of the Treaty of London. With the delineation of the exact boundaries of the new state under the Protocol of Florence (17 December 1913), the Serbs lost their outlet to the Adriatic and the Greeks the region of Northern Epirus (Southern Albania).

After its defeat, Bulgaria turned into a revanchist local power looking for a second opportunity to fulfill its national aspirations. To this end, it participated in the First World War on the side of the Central Powers, since its Balkan enemies (Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, and Romania) were pro-Entente. The resulting enormous sacrifices during World War I and renewed defeat caused Bulgaria a national trauma and new territorial losses.

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Last Updated: : Sun Sep 24 2023