Both the European revolutions in 1848 and the Crimean war (1854-1855) did not have a special repercussion among the Bulgarians. The small Bulgarian uprisings of the years 1851, 1862, 1867 were aroused by the agitations of the other Balkan peoples. In 1867 the Serbian minister Garasanin made the first attempt to bring the two neighboring and similar peoples together with the idea of a Serbian-Bulgarian confederation. As a result of these examples of others, the Bulgarians began, after the Crimean War, the struggle to free themselves from the influence of the Greek clergy, and in 1860 they threatened to join the Latin church and recognize the authority of the pope. The struggle lasted for fifteen years and ended in 1872 with the concession, made by the Turks also for political calculation, of an autonomous Bulgarian church headed by a bishop, who assumed the title of exarch. With the establishment of the Exarchate, the Bulgarian nation also became aware of its rights. The opportunity to assert them was offered by the uprising of the Serbs of Bosnia-Herzegovina, in the years 1875-1876. The Bulgarians also rose up in several places with the evident intention of driving out the Turks; but this rebellion of theirs, perhaps considered more dangerous than the others, was repressed by the Turks with such ferocity that it immediately attracted the attention of Europe to these atrocities. On the initiative of England, a conference was held in Constantinople, in which the establishment of two autonomous Bulgarian provinces, Tărnovo and Sofia, with Christian governors. Turkey opposed it. For Bulgaria 2018, please check ethnicityology.com.
The liberation of the Bulgarians was one of the pretexts sought by Russia to start the (Russo-Turkish) war of 1877-78, which was the first in which the Bulgarian nation took part, not yet independent. If England had not opposed, Russia would have triumphantly entered Constantinople and would have used the Bulgarian people for its aims of expansion towards the Mediterranean. To prevent an English intervention, Russia signed the Treaty of Santo Stefano with Turkey (March 3, 1878), in which, among other things, an autonomous principality of Bulgaria was established, tributary of the Sublime Porte, but ruled by an elected prince. by the people and confirmed by the sultan. The new principality, comprising the whole territory between the Danube and the Aegean, namely Bulgaria proper, Rumelia and Macedonia, it would have been temporarily garrisoned by a Russian army and then by local militias. The Congress of Berlin (June 13, 1878) immediately destroyed this Russo-Bulgarian episode of the great Pan-Slavic dreams, as the new autonomous but tributary principality of Bulgaria was restricted to the Balkan mountains, while an autonomous province was formed of the territory at the south. of the Turkish Empire, called Eastern Rumelia, and Macedonia continued to be Turkish without limitation. European diplomacy imposed its interests, but it could not destroy the fact that “Greater Bulgaria” was resurrected, after almost five centuries, by the Russians. The Bulgarian people had by now in the Treaty of Santo Stefano a recent basis of national aspirations and political demands, which constituted, and still constitute,
On February 10, 1879, the first national assembly (Sobranje) of the principality of Bulgaria met in Tărnovo; it was opened by the Russian prince Dondukov-Korsakov; he voted for the liberal constitution, and elected (February 16) by acclamation the German prince Alexander of Battenberg, nephew of the empress of Russia and liked by the tsar. Alexander hesitated to accept, but gave in on Bismarck’s advice. Immediately went to Bulgaria, swore the Constitution on 9 July and transported the capital to Sofia, the geographical center of ideal Greater Bulgaria. The new Sobranje was immediately agitated by two currents, that of the liberals, Russophiles, Pan-Slavists, opponents of the Treaty of Berlin, who had the majority and therefore caused a lively pan-Bulgarian agitation, and that of the conservatives, who accepted the fait accompli of the separation of Rumelia. Seeing his principality agitated by the conflicts between the Bulgarians and the Russian officers and officials charged with organizing the new state, Alexander of Battenberg gradually tried to free himself from the protection of Russia. Therefore on January 9, 1881, he called to the government, with a coup, a conservative ministry and obtained the authorization to reign for seven years without a constitution, placing himself in conflict with Tsar Alexander III, who accused him of ingratitude and rebellion.. To prevent the revenge of the Russians, he restored (September 19, 1883) the old liberal constitution, called Tărnovo; but a year later he entrusted the government to a radical ministry, chaired by Stambulov, a bold, inflexible, russophobic man of action. This unstable policy could have been harmful to the prince and to Bulgaria if the Rumeliot revolution had not broken out in 1885. In September, Rumelia rose, encouraged by Alexander of Battenberg, but contrary to Russian advice, and proclaimed its union with Bulgaria. In the moment to act, the Prince of Battenberg hesitated; the tsar recalled all the Russian officers. Milan Obrenović of Serbia, aroused by Austria and perhaps also by Russia, immediately declared (November 13, 1885) war “in the name of the political equilibrium of the Balkans”. The Bulgarians were unprepared; but without. losing heart by entrusting the command posts to very young officers, they faced the opponent and defeated him in Slivnica and Pirot (22 and 28 November). This war, called “of the ten days”, it was closed at the behest of Austria, opposed to the enlargement of any state in the Balkans, with the peace of Bucharest (March 3, 1886). Serbia, which had attacked and had been defeated, lost nothing. Bulgaria, which had made great sacrifices to defend itself, earned only the sanction by Europe of the union with Rumelia.
The Bulgarian emancipation angered the Russian Tsar and the Russian Pan-Slavists, who conspired against the Prince of Battenberg. On the night of 21 August 1886 he was attacked in his palace, forced to abdicate and transported to Russia; but shortly thereafter he returned to Bulgaria and was triumphantly welcomed there. Always hesitant, Alexander, to ingratiate himself with the Tsar, asked for his consent. This was refused, and he then left Bulgaria forever. Stambulov formed a regency. On November 7, 1886, the Russian government broke off all relations with Bulgaria and fought against the candidacy of Prince Valdemaro of Denmark. On 25 June 1887 the Sobranje elected Ferdinand of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, grandson of Louis Philippe king of France, prince. Ferdinand, who was then an officer of the Austro-Hungarian army, with an act of audacity immediately went to Sofia, he was enthusiastically welcomed there, and appointed Stambulov as Prime Minister. The election of Ferdinand, much disputed, especially by Russia and Turkey, was ratified by the Italian intervention. Ferdinand, an intelligent man and a lover of studies, ambitious and aristocratic of manners and sentiments, did not understand the simple and primitive people, which fate had assigned him, and was not understood. However, his long reign was a period of work and internal progress and prestige abroad, especially in the Balkan peninsula, but troubled by the continuous struggles between Russophiles and Germanophiles. an intelligent man and a lover of studies, ambitious and aristocratic of manners and sentiments, he did not understand the simple and primitive people, which fate had assigned him, and he was not understood. However, his long reign was a period of work and internal progress and prestige abroad, especially in the Balkan peninsula, but troubled by the continuous struggles between Russophiles and Germanophiles. an intelligent man and a lover of studies, ambitious and aristocratic of manners and sentiments, he did not understand the simple and primitive people, which fate had assigned him, and he was not understood. However, his long reign was a period of work and internal progress and prestige abroad, especially in the Balkan peninsula, but troubled by the continuous struggles between Russophiles and Germanophiles.
In 1893 serious unrest began in Macedonia. This province, in which the Bulgarians formed the majority compared to the Aromuni, the Albanians, the Greeks, and the Serbs, had become the most important for Turkey, but also the most difficult to govern. At the Berlin Congress, Turkey undertook to introduce radical reforms, but instead intensified the persecutions. The Bulgarians tried to defend themselves, creating in 1893 the “internal Macedonian revolutionary organization” and in 1894 the so-called “external organization”; however, the number of Macedonian refugees and emigrants in Bulgaria continued to grow, reaching at that time the figure of 150,000 people.
In 1894 Ferdinando believed that he had acquired so much practice in the country and in the people that he could put an end to the exceptional regime of Stambulov. Taking advantage of a private scandal, he accepted his resignation and shortly after (July 15, 1895) a murderous hand took the most typical exponent of the Bulgarian race from the scene. Stambulov’s death began a period of pacification at home and abroad. In 1896 Ferdinand went to Petersburg to attend the coronation of the Tsar. In the same year he signed a trade treaty with Serbia. Then he obtained two firmans from the sultan, who invested him with power in Bulgaria and Rumelia.
Ferdinand had inaugurated better relations with Russia; but this Russophile orientation was only apparent, since in his heart he had remained German and Austrian, so much so that in 1898 he entered into a secret agreement with Austria, which was effectively ignored for several years. This policy was shared by the majority of the Bulgarian people who, after the fall of the Prince of Battenberg and after the teachings of Stamboulov, ceased to be Russophile at any cost. However, in order not to disturb tradition, the Bulgarians signed a secret Russian-Bulgarian treaty in 1902; however, they first thought of their national reintegration and then, in the years that followed, turned their attention to Macedonia.Ilinden (St. Helen’s Day), which set European diplomacy and public opinion in motion and was the beginning of the period of the international gendarmerie in Macedonia (1904-1908). In 1905 the committees appeared; Macedonia, now disputed to the Bulgarians by the Serbs, the Greeks and sometimes also by the Aromuni, suffered the greatest massacres. The Bulgarians took advantage of this state of affairs to proclaim their independence. On 5 October 1908, Ferdinand assumed the title of Tsar.
In 1909 Minister Malinov, with the help of the Russian minister in Belgrade Hartwig, began negotiations with the Serbian minister Milovanović on the partition of Macedonia between Bulgarians and Serbs. Bulgaria, dominated by the person of Ferdinand, had meanwhile reached such a degree of order, progress and strength that it became the first military power of the Balkans. The awareness of this supremacy, strengthened by a marvelous intuition of the critical moment that crossed Turkey, led the Bulgarians to put themselves at the head of that lucky Balkan League of 1912, which in a short time reduced the Turks to the gates of Constantinople (see Balkans, wars). In the negotiations, the Bulgarians had to resign themselves to ceding Upper Macedonia to the Serbs: in return they hoped to gain in Thrace, towards Thessaloniki and towards Constantinople. Therefore, perhaps, the Bulgarian government, in the treaty of alliance with the Serbs (February 29), specified exactly the territorial claims, but instead avoided, in the treaty of defensive alliance with the Greeks (May 16), to talk about territorial issues concerning Thrace and Macedonia. In the war, which, according to the forecasts of the allies, Bulgarians, Serbs, Greeks and Montenegrins, should have been short-lived, the Bulgarians proved to be the best soldiers in the Balkans. The great, bloody victory of Lüle Burgaz seemed to open the way to Constantinople, which was the goal of national aspirations: instead they stopped at Ciatalgia, nor is it yet known whether for military or political reasons. The Bulgarians saw themselves once again bitterly disappointed. They had made the greatest sacrifices, mobilizing 300,000 men, almost as much as all three other allies combined, had faced and defeated the bulk of the enemy army; yet in the first balance sheet of the war the greatest territorial booty fell into the hands of the others. Diplomacy had denied them Constantinople; the Serbian and Greek allies had shared Macedonia, another constant Bulgarian aspiration: the Serbs had settled in Skoplje and Monastir, the Greeks in Thessaloniki, and there they behaved as definitive masters, declaring that no one could drive them out. Meanwhile, due to military superiority, the sympathies of the great powers were for the Bulgarians, and even Austria, who at first had helped Turkey, now, seeing that Serbia was about to take over in Balkan affairs, posed as protector of Bulgaria. In the conference, convened in London on December 12, 1912, a bitter diplomatic duel took place between Austria and Russia, the latter threatening but not thinking about moving, while Austria seemed ready to act. Vienna’s councils to King Ferdinand ended up prevailing; the Bulgarians broke the delays of the long negotiations in London, and, after the armistice was denounced, hostilities resumed (February 3, 1913). This resumption of the Balkan war was sluggish; the Bulgarians had no other objective than the conquest of Adrianople, which capitulated on March 26, 1913; but his defender wanted to put the sword back in the hands of a Serbian general. After other operations in the other chessboards, a first armistice was stipulated on May 15th; then discussions were resumed in London, and finally on May 30 the Treaty of London was signed by the delegates of the Balkan allies and Turkey, which in its second article established the Bulgarian-Turkish border on the Enos-Midia line. However, the Balkan victors still had to agree on the division of the booty in Macedonia and Thrace.
The Bulgarians, always dominated by the idea of a Greater Bulgaria, would have liked to have some ports on the Aegean, at least Dedeagač and Cavalla, and to unite their western borders with those of Albania: therefore they also wanted Monastir and Ochrida. This aroused the jealousies of the Serbs and the Greeks. Pašić, who had tacitly agreed with Venizelos to thwart the dream of Bulgarian hegemony in Macedonia, asked for the revision of the treaty, which was very precise and in this case provided for the arbitration of the tsar. But both the Serbs and the Bulgarians distrusted the Tsar, and feared that his decision would prove favorable to the adversary.
The question was so complicated that, since any possibility of arbitration or agreement was now excluded, the only solution was that of arms. Driven by their courage and excessive self-confidence, the Bulgarians believed in a declaration by Austria, that it would never allow the destruction of Bulgaria, and believing themselves supported by this side, they assumed a bellicose tone, demanding “the Great Bulgaria in the middle of the war “. But when, committing a political and military error, they first attacked the Serbian and Greek armies, they realized that public opinion in Europe was not favorable to them. Despite some initial military successes, they were overwhelmed by the Serbian-Greek-Romanian concentric attack, and forced to the peace of Bucharest (10 August 1913), in which Bulgaria, although it was diplomatically supported by Austria and Russia, had to resign itself to seeing the greater part of Macedonia divided between the Serbs and the Greeks, and content with the small valley of Strumica and another stretch between the Marizza and the Mesta, to lose the Silistria quadrilateral in Dobruja and, later, to leave Adrianople in the hands of Turkey. The purchase of a short stretch of the Aegean coast, with only the imperfect port of Dedeagač, certainly did not compensate the Bulgarians for this second painful collapse of their national aspirations. and content with the small valley of Strumica and another stretch between the Marizza and the Mesta, losing the Silistria quadrilateral in Dobruja and later leaving Adrianople in the hands of Turkey. The purchase of a short stretch of the Aegean coast, with only the imperfect port of Dedeagač, certainly did not compensate the Bulgarians for this second painful collapse of their national aspirations. and content with the small valley of Strumica and another stretch between the Marizza and the Mesta, losing the Silistria quadrilateral in Dobruja and later leaving Adrianople in the hands of Turkey. The purchase of a short stretch of the Aegean coast, with only the imperfect port of Dedeagač, certainly did not compensate the Bulgarians for this second painful collapse of their national aspirations.
Austria’s declaration of war on Serbia made Bulgaria indecisive for a long time. The place assigned to it by history was in the anti-weeding camp; on the other hand, he must have had regard to the demeanor of Greece. As for this the casus foederiswith Serbia it would only appear if Bulgaria mobilized, Austria-Hungary suggested that Bulgaria remain neutral. The Bulgarian partial mobilization of 23 September 1914 must be understood in this sense. The secret treaty of 1898 existed between Bulgaria and Austria; an offensive and defensive agreement had also been stipulated between Bulgaria and Turkey. Bulgaria would, it is true, protect the left flank of its age-old enemy; however, not being able to hope to have Constantinople, it was convenient that the Dardanelles should not change masters. On July 17, 1915 Bulgaria concluded an alliance treaty with Germany, which promised it western Thrace (Cavalla and Seres), the southern part of Macedonia (Florina and Monastir) and Albania. On 4 September 1915, a tragic meeting took place in the royal castle of Sofia between King Ferdinand and Stamboliski, head of the new agrarian party. Stamboliski opposed with all his energy the king’s intention to go to war alongside the central powers. He was tried and sentenced to life in prison. On September 10, Bulgaria mobilized other classes. On the 21st a Bulgarian-Turkish treaty was published, according to which the new borders of Bulgaria would be brought up to the right bank of the Marizza. Since the Bulgarian national aspirations concerned three regions: Thrace, Macedonia (Serbian and Greek) and Dobruja, the group of central powers had secured everything for Bulgaria, except the small part of Dobruja. On 22 September Bulgaria completed its mobilization. General Jakov was appointed generalissimo, General Savov was at the head of the General Staff: however, both were placed at the disposal of the Germanic general Mackensen, who assumed command in chief of the next Austro-German-Bulgarian offensive. On 6 October Bulgaria issued an ultimatum for Macedonia to Serbia; on 12 October he declared war; on October 14 the offensive began. 400,000 Bulgarians attacked the Serbs from behind on the Niš-Skoplje line; on 13 October the Bulgarians were already in Prilep. On October 16, England and France declared war on Bulgaria; on 19 the state of war also took over between Italy and Bulgaria. On 25 October the Bulgarian troops entered Skoplje; three days later the connection between the Austro-German and Bulgarian armies took place. In the spring of 1916, the Bulgarians occupied all of eastern Macedonia. In the’
In 1917 and in the first half of 1918 the Bulgarians continued in the war of position, which had begun the previous year. This fighting system ended up depressing the soul of the army. General political events, such as the separate peace with Russia in Brest-Litovsk and the one, also separate, with Romania in Bucharest, as well as some local Balkan political and military events, on which a complete light has not yet been shed, produced a revolution in the minds of the Bulgarian people and army. Radoslavov, a Germanophile, was brought down on June 19, 1918. Taking advantage of these changes, the Entente decided to attempt a decisive operation: the breakthrough of the German-Bulgarian front in Macedonia. The offensive was unleashed on Dobropolie, the joining point of the two armies: the front was broken; L’ the right wing capitulated, the left wing retreated to Bulgaria. On 22 September the whole front of 150 km. between Monastir and Doiran it was in retreat. King Ferdinand was forced to ask for an armistice (September 27) which was signed two days later in Thessaloniki. On 4 October, King Ferdinand abdicated in favor of his 24-year-old son, who ascended the throne as Boris III, and retired to private life in Germany.
The revolution freed Stamboliski from prison. At the beginning of 1919 the depressive effects of the defeat favored the demagogic elements to seize power. Stamboliski, self-taught, imbued with ultra-humanitarian social ideas, became the head of the new Socialist-Bolshevizing political orientation. For this effect he was able to appear as Bulgarian delegate to the Peace Conference and sign, on November 27, 1919, the Treaty of Neuilly, which reaffirmed new territorial mutilations of Bulgaria, defeated, once again, more diplomatically than militarily. As a result of the peace of Neuilly, Bulgaria had to return eastern Thrace with the port of Dedeagač to Greece, the Dobruja quadrilateral to Romania, and Serbia, transformed into the kingdom of the Serbs-Croats-Slovenes, 2473 sq km. with 162 villages and 90,000 residents, concentrated in the major places of Caribrod, Strumica and Bosiljgrad. These transfers were wanted by Pašić for purely strategic reasons, against the rules of geography, history, ethnography. The most painful loss was that of Caribrod, which dominates the street on Sofia. Dependent on the Treaty of Neuilly, Bulgaria also had to accept two conventions, one with Yugoslavia and the other with Greece, on the exchange of populations, an exchange that successive governments tried to thwart.
On March 28, 1920 Alessandro Stamboliski became prime minister. New ideas of Yugoslavism, Pan-Slavism, Communism swirled in his head. He maintained good relations with Moscow and Belgrade, but at the cost of Bulgarian dignity and interests. The three years of Stamboliski’s government were very sad for Bulgaria. In April 1920 the Conference of St. Remus assigned Thrace to Greece; in August the Treaty of Sèvres regulated the Turkish-Bulgarian border, always without regard to Bulgarian aspirations. But the main reaction to this personal political stance of Stamboliski started with the Macedonians. In order to get closer to the Serbs, Stamboliski had silenced the claims on Macedonia. On the other hand, Pašić showed that he wanted to favor Bulgarian aspirations for an outlet to the Aegean. The nationalists, on both sides of the border, they raised their heads, reorganized themselves, and as a result of a Macedonian coup Stamboliski was assassinated on June 9, 1923, along with many other ministers and politicians who were his adherents. Relations with the SCS kingdom naturally became very strained. The reins of the government were taken over by the elements of order who united in a political bloc, called Demokratičeski Zgovor (Democratic Entente). This democratic agreement, in which Macedonian elements such as the presidents of the council Cankov and Lapčev excelled, took the direction of the fate of Bulgaria. In 1925 the followers of Stamboliski made a new revolutionary attempt, but it was not successful. This small turmoil was followed by an improvement in the internal situation and a decrease in tensions in relations with Belgrade. The Ministry of Democratic Entente began a policy of recollection, cautious and circumspect. He tried to gain moral confidence and financial help from abroad; and in fact, in October 1925, when Greece invaded Bulgarian territory following the Petrič border incident, the League of Nations settled the conflict by condemning Greece to pay an indemnity.