Serbia, Europe, Historical Profile (1922), #024-The Second Balkan War


The Balkan Allies were now faced by the thorny problem of dividing the spoils. Macedonian autonomy, which the treaty had laid down as the ideal solution, was from the first abandoned by all parties. Between Bulgaria and Greece there was no territorial bargain, and no obvious means of reaching one while Serbia as early as Jan. 23 formally raised the question of a revision of the Serbo-Bulgarian treaty.

She claimed compensation for four reasons: (1) that she had furnished her ally with military support far in excess of her bargain; (2) that she had absolved Bulgaria from her military obligations in Macedonia; (3) that she had loyally continued the war three months after her own work was done; and (4) that the acquisition of Adrianople by Bulgaria radically modified the basis upon which the bargain rested. But if her attitude can be justified, it must be on the broader ground that Austria's veto on her obtaining a port in Northern Albania had upset her whole basic calculation. I leaving the Vardar valley her only possible alternative outlet; and I this involved her retention of Vcles, Prilep, Monastir and Okhrida as well as the "disputed zone."

While Russia strained every effort to avert a conflict, Bulgaria I was encouraged by the openly Serbophobe tone of the official press in Vienna and Budapest; and King Ferdinand had already ordered General Savov to hasten the transference of the army from the Thracian to the Macedonian front, when on May 27, Pasic, under pressure from the Serbian Opposition, publicly committed his Government to the demand for treaty revision. This hastened the ' resignation of the pacific Gvesov. His successor Danev opposed the suggestion that the Premiers should meet at St. Petersburg, contended that Russia had already prejudged the case by even considering revision, and relied increasingly upon Austria-Hungary'. Serbia and Greece, realizing the danger, concluded first a military convention, and then a definite treaty of alliance for ten years (June i). While the first of these provided for mutual military support in case of a Bulgarian attack upon either ally, the second extended the casus foederis to an attack by a third Power. Both the wording and the events of the moment make it clear that the intention was to guard against an Austro-Hungarian attack upon Serbia.

The tsar's personal appeal to the kings of Serbia and Bulgaria in the name of "the Slav Cause." fell on deaf ears (June 8). On June 13 Bulgaria rejected the proposal of the Powers in favour of parallel demobilization, and her attitude stiffened still further after the speech of the new Hungarian premier. Count Tisza, who emphasized the right of the Balkan States to settle differences in their own way-even by war-and declared that Austria-Hungary could not allow any other Power to acquire special prerogatives in the Peninsula (June 19).

Danev rejected Russia's fresh proposals for a compromise and reiterated the demand for the joint occupation of Macedonia. With Sazonov's sharp reply bidding Bulgaria to expect nothing more from Russia. St. Petersburg's influence over Sofia ended. On the night of June 29, without previous declaration of war, the Bulgarian armies made an almost simultaneous attack upon the Serbs and Greeks in the hope of seizing and holding the coveted districts of Macedonia until the foreign intervention which King Ferdinand believed to be imminent settled the dispute on a basis of bcati possidentes.

This is borne out, not merely by captured dispatches, but by the fact that when Putnik's forces everywhere held their own, Savov on July 1 telegraphed the order to stop hostilities. But that very afternoon the Serbian counter-offensive opened, and after a desperate struggle of nine days on the Bre- galnica front (July 1-9), the Bulgarians were obliged to abandon the whole Ovcepolje, the strategic key to central Macedonia.

      "Serbia, Europe, Historical Profile (1922), #024-The Second Balkan War," The Encyclopedia Britannica. (New York: Encyclopedia Britannica, 1922); digital edition, ( : posted 15 Jan 2013)

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