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Third Balkan War (Rising Nationalism)

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Third Balkan War (Rising Nationalism)
Date June 1st 1997- February 23rd 2001
Location Balkans/ Central Europe
Result Hungarian /Turkish/ Serb Victory
Belligerents
Hungary

Serbia

Turkey

Austria

Bulgaria

Romania

Greece

Croatia

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Slovenia

Albania

Macedonia

Montenegro

Strength
Hungary
  • 140,000 Soldiers

Serbia

  • 210,000 Soldiers

Turkey

  • 450,000 Soldiers

Austria

  • 95,000 Soldiers

Bulgaria

  • 60,000 Soldiers
Romania
  • 230,000 Soldiers

Greece

  • 310,000 Soldiers

Croatia

  • 90,000 Soldiers

Bosnia and Herzegovina

  • 20,000 Soldiers

Slovenia

  • 14,000 Soldiers

Albania

  • 17,000 Soldiers

Macedonia

  • 50,000 Soldiers

Montenegro

  • 2,000 Soldiers
The Third Balkan War was an armed conflict between Hungary, Austria, Romania, Bulgaria, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Greece, Croatia, Slovenia, Albania, Montenegro, and Turkey. The war lasted between 1st June 1997 to 23rd February 2001. The war resulted in Hungary, Serbia, and their allies claiming victory. The war resulted in nationalism rising to extreme levels in Europe. The war showcased the third time a nuclear weapon was used in a war. 

Background

The end of the Second Hungary-Slovak War resulted in Romania losing some territory to Hungary on May 29th, 1993. Many Romanians claimed it was unfair and unjust. Tensions began rising between Hungary and Romania and both built up their armies and stationed them near the border. Several months after the conflict a small skirmish occurred on the border where eight Hungarian soldiers were killed by Romanians. Hungary ordered Romania to be held accountable but Romania dismissed the event. Several years passed with only more skirmishes and ethnic killings. Hungarians in the Transylvania region of Romania were harassed and even killed. The same happened to Roma in Hungarian gained land. In 1996 violence became worse and resulted in a small genocide in Transylvania where Roma killed nearly 300 ethnic Hungarians. This almost caused a war before the United Nations stepped in and sanctioned Romania for it's actions. For two more years tensions rose to nearly the breaking point.

Bulgarian ships began illegally attacking and hijacking Romanian ships on the Black Sea. Although Bulgaria denied these allegations several of the hijackers were captured and revealed to be part of the Bulgarian military. All relations between Romania and Bulgaria instantly fell out, resulting in mistrust and modernization of the Bulgarian military. To the north Austria and Hungary formed a strong bond and became military allies. Although Hungary was not in NATO or the EU it considered Austria it's closest ally and vice versa. Austria helped Hungary modernize it's military with new equipment and vehicles. 

Yugoslavia was breaking up resulting in a series of conflicts. Initially the Yugoslav People's Army sought to preserve the unity of the whole of Yugoslavia by crushing the secessionist governments; however they increasingly came under the influence of the Serbian government of Slobodan Milosevic that evoked Serbian nationalists rhetoric and was willing to support the Yugoslav state insofar as using it to preserve the unity of Serbs in one state; as a result they began to lose Slovenes, Croats, Kosovar Albanians, Bosniaks, and ethnic Macedonians, and effectively became a Serb army. According to the 1994 United Nations report, the Serb side did not aim to restore Yugoslavia, but to create a "Greater Serbia" from parts of Croatia and Bosnia. Hungary soon extended friendship to it's neighboring nation and aimed to one day help Serbia regain the lands and possibly reform Yugoslavia altogether. 

The War Begins

At 4:21 PM on June 1st 1997 Romanian forces crossed into Hungarian territory. initially their invasion met difficulty but they began advancing. In a few days they managed to capture a significant amount of land. Hungarian military began bombing Romanian positions throwing them off. However Romania continued their advance. A week after Romania invaded Hungary, Austria declared war on Romania. Next Serbia and Bulgaria also followed suit and declared war. This resulted in Serbian forces attacking the Romanian border. The Romanian military then sent parts of it's army to attack Serbia and Bulgaria. They were very successful in Bulgaria and gained ground quickly. However they were unable to penetrate Serbian lines. Soon the Romanian advance in Hungary was halted when Austrian troops arrived.

Serbia Invades

Serbia set out it's own plans of reforming Yugoslavia by invading Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia. The Serbs had experience fighting them from the Yugoslav Wars and quickly began to beat their enemies. However the Croats managed to halt Serbian positions. On the request of Serbia, Hungary and Austria sent troops to invade Slovenia and Croatia. Before long Slovenia surrendered to Austria and the Croatian military was crushed. the combined air force of Hungary and Austria decimated the large cities of the Balkans. After Bosnia and Herzegovina surrendered, two Serbian divisions broke off and captured Montenegro. Croatia was the last to surrender and attempted a final offensive before surrendering. By the end of the second year of the war the Balkans had all surrendered to Serbia and Hungary.

A Devastating Blow

NUCLEAR-566x324

The Nuclear Strike on Oradea

After a two year stalemate in Hungary, Romanian troops finally pushed forward. They broke apart the Hungarian military and advanced for several weeks. As Austrian and Hungarian soldiers regrouped and fought a massive battle at Debrecen. The Battle of Debrecen resulted in a total of 30,000 casualties. Romania had begun to pass into Serbia and was crushing Bulgaria to the south. Hungary saw that it had to unveil it's secret weapon.12,000 Romanian reinforcements were stationed in the city of Oradea. these reinforcements were crucial to Romania's offensive in Hungary. Hungary knew this and launched an aerial attack. The city had been evacuated weeks ago and only the Romanian military was left. 6:23 AM on October 9th, 1998 became the third time in human history a nuclear weapon was utilized in war. Hungary launched a small aerial attack force which dropped the bomb nicknamed " megbánás" meaning regret. This shocked the world as no one thought Hungary had nuclear weapons. The 12,000 troops stationed there were all killed. After the event Hungary stated it had 16 more nuclear bombs and 7 missiles it stole from the Soviets during the Cold War. Soon many nations wanted to declare war on Hungary but the UN managed to calm down the international community by forcing Hungary to sign the non-proliferation treaty. Hungary gave up half of it's nuclear arsenal to the United Kingdom. The nuclear strike effectively turned the tide of the war in the north. Hungary and Austria pushed Romanian troops out of Hungary and entered into Romania.

Greece Aids Romania

Although Hungary signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty; Greece was worried about Hungary's nuclear arms and being close in proximity to Hungary. On March 4th 1999, Greece joined the side of Romania in the war. They immediately joined in with the invasion of Bulgaria. Within four months Bulgaria surrendered to Greece and Romania. Romania then diverted troops to fight Hungarian and Austrian troops invading Transylvania and to begin invading Serbia. Greek troops sent support to Albania and Macedonia and began pushing back the Serbian advance. At the end of 1999 Greek and Romanian forces began attacking southern Serbia and gained a sizable advantage. To the north, Hungary and Austria continued advancing into Transylvania in an almost unstoppable offensive. On January 3rd 2000 most of Transylvania was in Hungarian control and they continued to advance.

Turkey Enters The War

In early 2000 several incidents occurred where Greek ships accidentally fired on Turkish ships. These attacks were followed by unprovoked attacks on the Turkish parts of Thrace. The Greek president expressed his apologies. This followed by the Hungarian President showing warmth and towards Turkey caused Turkey;s entry into the war. On June 3rd 2000, Turkish armed forces attacked Lesbos and Rhodes. this resulted in a bloody naval war in the Aegean. However Turkish troops crossed into occupied Bulgaria and into Greece. The superior Turkish army began to win many victories. In November 2000 Turkey captured the island of Crete and began making preparations for an invasion of Peloponessia.

End of the War

In early 2001 Hungarian and Austrian forces succeeding in capturing most of Romania. They met up with Turkish forces and began the siege of Bucharest. the siege lasted a month before Romanian troops surrendered. Turkish troops began crossing into Macedonia and mainland Greece and to the south they invaded Peloponessia. Serbia finally managed to push back the Greek and Romanian forces. At the beginning of February the last division of Romania's army had a last stand at Tulcea resulting in Romania's surrender. Lastly Greece surrendered on February 23rd 2001. Hungary, Turkey, Serbia, and their allies claimed victory. Countries were filled with Nationalism and pride for their victory. Or they felt anger for losing the war. Borders were redrawn forcing Romania to loose a sizable amount of land. Serbia reformed Yugoslavia but named it Greater Serbia. Turkey gained islands in the Aegean and a greater part of Thrace. Bulgaria lost a lot of land and felt betrayed by its allies. This led to a small war between Macedonia and Bulgaria where Bulgaria gained back some of its lost land.

Losses and Gains

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