Skip to comments.Is the First Balkan War Really Over?
Posted on 10/10/2012 9:24:55 AM PDT by Kaslin
Montenegro's Oct. 8, 1912, declaration of war on the Ottoman Turkish Empire and its Oct. 9 attack on neighboring Albania, an Ottoman protectorate, stunned Europe. Montenegro, a military midget, attacking Albania, another poor and backwater Balkan nowhere? Can a tiny statelet like Montenegro spark great havoc?
When the spark strikes a powder keg of ethnic, sectarian and nationalist conflict, the tragic answer is yes. This week marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First Balkan War (October 1912 to May 1913). It was the second in a series of three wars that led to the great and not quite settled tragedy of World War I, the first being the Italo-Turkish War of 1911-1912. In that limited but dirty conflict, Italy, an aspiring imperialist, had sought to strip the decaying Turk imperialists of Libya. Italy succeeded. The Libyan civil war of 2011 played out on many of the same battlefields where a century earlier Italians fought Turks and their Libyan allies.
Italy had launched limited naval forays on Turkish European and Aegean possessions, but the First Balkan War brought heavy modern combat onto European soil. The First Balkan begat the Second Balkan War (1913), and in the summer of 1914 the Balkan assassination of an Austrian archduke ignited a war that went global -- World War I.
World War II and the Cold War reprised geopolitical issues World War I created or left unresolved. Twenty-first century conflicts roil the Central Asian and Caucasus territories once controlled by the Orthodox Christian Romanov Russian Empire and its heir, the Soviet Union. The Muslim Ottomans once controlled the Arab Spring states of Libya, Tunisia, Syria and Egypt. Yemen was also Ottoman land. The Ottoman Sultan served as caliph, nominal spiritual leader of a global Muslim caliphate. In 2001, Osama bin Laden said reviving the caliphate required global jihad.
The declining yet still powerful Romanovs and Ottomans collided in the Balkans' turbulent backwater with a third creaky imperial creature, the Austro-Hungarian Empire run by the Catholic Christian Habsburgs. These empires had their favored Balkan ethnic and sectarian constituencies.
Russia promoted the cause of Orthodox believers. The Turks championed Muslims, but they also had immediate territorial interests. Strong Ottoman armies protected Albania and Kosovo, but Ottoman Thrace and Macedonia, with its key seaport, Salonika, were Turkish Europe. Constantinople (Istanbul), the Ottoman capital, was a European city. The Turks had taken the city from the Greek Byzantines in 1453. They knew many Russians, Bulgarians and Greeks thought it was high time to right that historical wrong.
The Serbs, Greeks, Bulgarians and the Montenegrins saw the Turks' war with Italy as an opportunity to right many territorial and sectarian wrongs. Despite the Balkanites history of internecine territorial and historical disputes, the four nations formed an alliance, the Balkan League. The league's objective: evict the Turks from Europe.
Montenegro triggered its Albanian attack while its allies and the Turks were still mobilizing their forces. Montenegro had a modest war aim: seize the Albanian city of Shkoder (Scutari). The other Balkanites had larger goals. Landlocked Serbia wanted Kosovo and an Adriatic seaport. Greece and Bulgaria coveted Salonika and various slices of Thrace. Salonika gave Bulgaria access to the Aegean. Greece wanted southern Albania (Epirus). Bulgaria, with its large and well-equipped army, eyed Adrianople (Edirne) and the biggest prize, Constantinople.
On Oct. 17, Serbia, Greece and Bulgaria declared war on the Ottomans and launched multiple attacks on Turkish positions in Kosovo, Macedonia and Thrace. Pressed in all sectors, Turkish forces were defeated, virtually everywhere, losing Edirne to the Bulgarians and Salonika to the Greeks. Fortifications outside Constantinople finally halted Bulgaria's offensive.
Attempts to mediate the war resulted in a ceasefire, which collapsed in February 1913, after a military coup jolted Turkey. The First Balkan War ended officially in May 1913. Bulgaria, however, was dissatisfied with the division of the spoils. The Second Balkan War erupted June 16, 1913. The fuse leading to World War I continued to burn.
I replied that theirs was the only religion that commanded them to kill the members of any other religion (infidels).
The room went silent.
Yep - One more push would have freed ALL of Europe from islam.
They stopped at Constantinople due to pressure from other major European countries who not want to “upset” the balance of power especially with Russia.
I'm becoming more and more fascinated about the turn of the 20th century and the first couple of decades. Also reading up on the period between the World Wars.
Thanks for this info. It seems the Balkan Wars were what lit the match for WWI and I hadn't realized that.
...they must have thought you believed that
“Religion of Peace” propaganda...
and yes, the war will never end,
until Islam controls the world, or is destroyed.
And, yes, Russia was indeed a threat.
When the philosophy of “Kill the Infidel” meets “Turn the Other Cheek,” which do you think will prevail?
They stopped at Constantinople due to pressure from other major European countries who not want to upset the balance of power especially with Russia.
Russia could have done away with the Ottoman Empire during the Crimean War in the 1850's and again during its war with the Ottomanss in the 1870's, but the Great Powers of Europe, fearing a strong Russia in the Middle East and Balkans, chose to prop up the Turks.
“So long as there are muslims in the Balkans, there will be conflict.”
They were the Balkans long before muslums existed. Even Alexander the Great had his Balkan problems. I don’t disagree with you necassarily, but the problems of that region may transcend the current Muslum/Christian dynamic.
Looking back to WWI is not looking back far enough, in my opinion.
that’s easy. look at the lands that once were Buddhist and Christian... and have now been Muslim for centuries.
Islam is like inoperable cancer. it can’t quit.
it can’t be modified or reformed.
frankly, i think it’s the religion of Satan,
when Jesus said another religion would become the largest in size.
and that the only thing that will stop it,
and, i also know what the Muslim say to each other.
i know what they say, when they tnink you are one of them.
the real truth.
One has to remember that the population of the world was so much smaller than now that there were vast areas with no people at all.
I am reading The Remains of Company D. written by James Carl Nelson, St. Martin’s 2009. It is a great attempt to recapture the experiences of young US soldiers of WW1.