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|Great Balkan War|
|Total: 850,000||Total: 350,000|
|Casualties and losses|
(includes genocide casualties)
The Great Balkan War as it is coloquialy known was the post World War I aftermath of the Balkan/Eastern Front which saw Bulgaria for the most part take part in the unrestricted killing of nearly 3.5 million people of its newly conquered territories as well as the displacing of roughly 1.5 million more. It is widely considered a Genocide by modern standards and remains widely criticised as one of the worst genocides of the many which occurred in the 20th century due to its extremely brutal massacre tactics, forced marches, displacement in favor of Bulgarian settlers, and a fabricated famine.
The starting time period is February of 1919, The Bulgarian authorities rounded up, arrested, and deported thousands of Greeks, Serbians, Hungarians, and Romanians, the majority of whom were eventually murdered. The genocide was carried out after World War I and implemented in two phases: the wholesale killing of the able-bodied male population through massacre and subjection to army conscripts into forced labour, followed by the deportation of women, children, the elderly and infirm on death marches leading to the the border with Ukraine where usually they would settle into the local populations or die due to the ongoing Russian Civil war.
The Balkan Wars
The Balkan Wars (Turkish: Balkan Savaşları, literally "the Balkan Wars" or Balkan Faciası, meaning "the Balkan Tragedy") consisted of two conflicts that took place in the Balkan Peninsula in south-eastern Europe in 1912 and 1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire in the first war; one of the four, Bulgaria, suffered defeat in the second war. The Ottoman Empire lost the bulk of its territory in Europe. Austria-Hungary, although not a combatant, became relatively weaker as a much enlarged Serbia pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples. The war set the stage for the Balkan crisis of 1914 and thus served as a "prelude to the First World War".
The First Balkan War broke out when the Balkan League member states attacked the Ottoman Empire on 8 October 1912 and ended seven months later with the signing of the Treaty of London on 30 May 1913. The Second Balkan War broke out on 16 June 1913. Both Serbia and Greece, utilizing the argument that the war had been prolonged, repudiated important particulars of the pre-war treaty and retained occupation of all the conquered districts in their possession which were to be divided according to specific predefined boundaries. Seeing the treaty as trampled, Bulgaria was dissatisfied over the division of the spoils in Macedonia (made in secret by its former allies, Serbia and Greece) and commenced military action against them. The more numerous combined Serbian and Greek armies repelled the Bulgarian offensive and counter-attacked into Bulgaria. Romania, who having taken no part in the conflict, had intact armies to strike with, invaded Bulgaria from the north in violation of a peace treaty between the two states. The Ottoman Empire also attacked Bulgaria and advanced in Thrace regaining Adrianople. In the resulting Treaty of Bucharest, Bulgaria lost most of the territories it had gained in the First Balkan War in addition to being forced to cede the ex-Ottoman south-third of Dobroudja province to Romania.
The Greater Bulgarian Dream
For the majority of the existence of any Bulgar state the various tsars have been under the impression to become the dominant state in the Balkans. With a large amount of ethnic Bulgarians remaining outside the borders of nearly every Bulgar state the various iterations of the Tsardom were in every mind to unify the Bulgarian peoples across the broad array of territory they were spread across. By the time of the modern Bulgarian state, however, they were by far the most powerful Balkan state, having a large army, a relatively modern military, and when under the right position was economically the strongest. However, with failings during the Second Balkan War, the Bulgarians eventually were forced to align with the Central Powers during the First World War in order to try and regain and expand Bulgarian territory overall
The Bulgarians having performed more than amiably during the First World War, was one of the only nations left standing on its own two feet following the war. With the de facto peace in February of 1919 the Bulgarians saw their final opportunity and took it re-opening hostilities on the Serbians, Greeks, and Romanians. With the Austro-Hungarian empire collapsing, the German Empire fighting the reconstituted Polish state, and the Russian Empire imploding in a civil war, The only powers with any power left to stop the Bulgarians were the United Kingdom, and the United States both of which declined to intervene on the balkans behalf. This began the major chain of events which caused the events which are more officially known as the Great Balkan Genocide which saw the permanent establishment of Bulgaria as the dominant power in the Balkans.
The Great Balkan Genocide
The first few actions of the "war" were most notably the confiscation of property, and the various arrests of prominent members of the Serbian, Greek, and Romanian populations. This overall wasn't where many of the ethnics began to understand what was happening, but this came much later after the fateful Massacre at Bucharest, With Romania essentially ceasing to exist as an independent state due to the war, with joint Bulgar, Austro-Hungarian occupation taking place, with the collapse of Austria-Hungary in early march of 1919 left a vacuum which saw a Romanian Home Army develop with which they were intending to reclaim their homeland from the Bulgarians. This led to Romanian uprisings in Bucharest and in the countryside which saw the Bulgarian army deployed to handle the situation. However, the Bulgar forces were denied entry into Bucharest and even saw civilian attacks on their military forces as they tried to gain entry a second time. With the Romanian Home Army managing to secure enough supplies for a move on their capital, the Bulgarian army took drastic measures.
With no defenses besides the local police forces, Bucharest was fired upon by artillery, and then had a major Bulgarian force march into the city. The immediate casualties in Romania's largest city exceeded 100,000 as indiscriminate killings occurred all across the city. The Romanian Home Army unwilling to see their populations killed anymore blindly rushed to the defense of their capital, their relatively new leaders, with their more prominent leaders either being imprisoned or not willing to join the army, were unable to fight the much more battle hardened and well equipped Bulgarian Army. With upwards of 300,000 troops the Bulgarian army wiped out the Romanian Home Army in the Battle of Bucharest which saw their force of roughly 120,000 (relatively big for such a revolutionary army) absolutely wiped out. Only 6000 men survived from the home army as the Bulgarians obliterated the force taking no prisoners.
Word of the massacre in Romania traveled quickly as more militias began to form to counter the Bulgarian movements. However, the newly coalescing Hungarian nation in the Carpathian Basin was more than willing to commit to preventing the Romanians and Serbs from rising up, offered to employ a mutual agreement to help each other when it came to these respective forces. This joint agreement was one of the best things which occurred for both nations as their mutual assistance to each other was effectively balanced to prevent either the Serb or new Romanian militias from ever gaining enough time to re-form into a legitimate fighting force.
While the Hungarians were more focused on Croatia, Transylvania, and the other Carpathian States, the Bulgarians embarked on a massive attack on Serbia in 1921. The Serbian military remnants which had reformed to combat the Hungarians and Bulgarians made their main final stand in 1923 at Belgrade which Bulgaria had every intention of Seizing. The Serbians were unable to hold off the Bulgarian army and following the Battle of Belgrade the Serbian residents which remained were systematically deported to the rump Serbian State or murdered outright in Cold blood
Settlement and permanent claim
With a clear majority of the Balkan resistance movements defeated, albeit in a relatively close engagements with the Greeks in Macedonia, the Bulgarians embarked on their second rather haphazard phase. Many towns and cities were starved out of food and other essentials, Some of the more independent and foolhardy citizens, mostly Romanians, were outright killed by the Bulgarian military. In one glaring instance the majority of its remaining population, roughly 150,000, was marched to the border with Ukraine and a good part of the population was plainly murdered until they started to run into Ukraine. To this day, there remains nearly two million ethnic Romanians within the modern USSR as a result of the various marches and eventually mass flight.
In Serbia and Greece the Bulgarian forces had undergone the same events, however, with a much clearer path. Belgrade had seed major rebuilding and resettlement by Bulgarians, and the Serbian and Greek populations of these new areas given the option of leaving to what was left of their respective homelands. This offer was widely accepted and roughly 1.5 million Serbians and Greeks left for the remnants of their countries. By 1925 the Bulgarian Tsardom proclaimed the Third Bulgarian Empire and secured a major investment and trade agreement with the United States. The estimated death toll of the Balkan Genocide is roughly 3.5 million, with 1.5 million people having left on the Bulgarian agreement. An unknown number of the various ethnicities also left undocumented from the area with multiple Serbian, Romanian and Greek communities having sprung up in many of the surrounding nations in the Balkans and Eastern Europe. Poland in particular saw large signs of Romanian and Serbian communities which popped up following the Genocide.
The Bulgarian population by this point was roughly 6.4 million and growing rapidly with many ethnic bulgarians being re-incorporated into the Empire following the Great War and a major baby boom underway as well. The now vacated land was outright seized by the State and great care was undertaken to settle much of the new territory with Ethnic Bulgarians. This also led however to a pseudo form of slavery as many Serbs, Greeks, and Romanians were put under the command or service of Bulgarians. Its estimated roughly 2 million of differing ethnicities remained within the new Greater Bulgarian state but due to these ethnicities also being different from each other only isolated lower class revolts which were put down in quick succession.