First Balkan War 1912

First Balkan War 1912

A Bulgarian officer gives water to a wounded Ottoman soldier during the First Balkan War, 1912. Both the Bulgarians and the Ottomans came out of the two Balkan wars of 1912-13 having suffered significant physical losses in men and territory as well as the humiliation of defeat.

The recovery of some land in eastern Thrace in the Second Balkan War only partially offset the deep blow to Ottoman prestige that its military failures in the first conflict had caused. The material losses suffered by the Ottoman Army, particularly in modern artillery, would also prove difficult to recover from quickly.

Meanwhile Bulgarians would not easily forget what they saw as a betrayal of the worst kind by their former principal allies in the Balkan League, Serbia and Greece. Having won so much in the First Balkan War, it was an incredibly bitter pill to have to swallow to accept the terms that ended the Second Balkan War which stripped Bulgaria of all those gains and more.

The opportunity for revenge for these newly made grievances would not be long in coming with the outbreak of the First World War barely 12 months later.

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Nelson Assarian

Posted: 30 May 2013

MY great uncle served in the Eastern Ottoman Army under Abdula Pasha. He was in the Artillery Corps. Although of Armenian decent he was proud to serve his country. As a young boy ,he told me of his time on the Bulgarian frontier, the bayonet charge by the Bulgarians, the fighting at Kirkareli. Their orders to retreat to Lule Burgas. The second attack by the Bulgarians, and their orders to retreat towards Istanbul. My Uncle said, we were within 20 miles of Istanbul and they shut the gates to the city and told us to stop the Bulgars or die where you are. Abdula Pash gave the order to attack and we stopped the Bulgars at the Catalca line.