Presentation on theme: "The Balkan Wars 1912-1913. The Balkan League Turkey’s continuing weakness encouraged nationalists in the Balkans to consider winning greater control."— Presentation transcript:
The Balkan Wars
The Balkan League Turkey’s continuing weakness encouraged nationalists in the Balkans to consider winning greater control in this area. Although Balkan countries often quarreled among themselves, Russia encouraged them to put these aside to form a united group. Serbia, Greece, Bulgaria and Montenegro formed an alliance called the Balkan League.
The First Balkan War 1912 In October 1912, the Balkan League’s forces attacked a weakened Turkey and in seven weeks drove them out of their European possessions. Austria was appalled by this result, fearing the emergence of a much stronger Serbia.
The Treaty of London 1913 Austria wanted to attack Serbia immediately but at this stage none of the Great Powers were ready for a confrontation with each other. The Great Powers called for a conference in London and in may 1913 imposed a settlement on the area. A new country, Albania, was created with Austrian support in order to deny Serbia a coastline. Serbia was furious with this. The rest of the former Turkish lands were shared out among the members of the Balkan League.
The Second Balkan War 1913 This arrangement did not last long. Bulgaria quarreled with other members of the League about the number of Bulgarians now living under Serbian or Greek control in Macedonia and Salonika. The Bulgarians attacked their former allies. Turley also joined in against Bulgaria, hoping to regain some of her territory lost the previous year. Bulgaria was quickly defeated and by the Treaty of Bucharest lost almost all of what she had gained in the first war.
Consequences Serbia had emerged from these wars a more powerful state than previously. Its military had become large and experienced. Serbia felt that its pan-Slav ambitions had been thwarted by Austria-Hungary with the creation of Albania. There was increased from within Serbia for terrorist attacks on Austrian targets. On the other hand, Austria-Hungary was alarmed at the increase in Serbian power and its obvious nationalist ambitions. It looked for an opportunity to cut Serbia down to size.
The influence of historical forces - Imperialism Turkish politicians were angry that they had effectively lost control of their imperial possessions in Europe and looked for an opportunity to regain them. This explains their actions in the Second Balkan War. Austrian politicians were worried about the increasing influence of nationalism in the Balkans as it threatened their imperial control of parts of the Balkans. Growing Serb strength endangered this control. Russian politicians sought to extend their imperial influence in this area through its encouragement of the Balkan League.
The influence of historical forces - Nationalism Balkan League politicians were motivated by the prospect of greater independence from Turkish control to form an alliance with former enemies. Serbian politicians were influenced by pan-Slav ideas and saw the creation of Albania as a deliberate attempt to limit their legitimate nationalist ambitions. Serbian nationalists were furious at Austria’s actions and increasingly supported terrorist activities against Austria.
The influence of an historical force – the alliance system Great Power politicians were concerned at the potential for destabilization by the league’s victory in the first Balkan War. If Austria attacked Serbia, Russia could support them. This could involve Germany supporting Austria against Russia, thus involving France and Britain. Great Power politicians did not want a European war at this time, so intervened to impose the Treaty of London. It was understood that this treaty was only likely to be a temporary solution.
Hall (in his book The Balkan Wars : Prelude to the First World War ) reminds us that the European powers (and even the Americans) took a great interest in the war. He recounts American volunteers and returned expatriates fighting on the Greek and Montenegrin sides. Throughout the book, the narrative is peppered with quotes from military attaches and diplomats from Britain, France, Germany and the US, who all responded variously on what the wars seemed like to them and how they were significant. Why was there such interest? On the one hand, all the Balkan countries (and the then non-state of Albania) except Greece were client states of one of the Great Powers alliances, and thus enemies of the others. Particularly stressed in this context is the antagonism between Austria-Hungary and Russia over Serbia’s aspirations in Bosnia and Montenegro’s ambitions in northern Albania, and how this uneasy confrontation would create a very volatile situation that exploded soon after, with the 1914 assassination of Franz Ferdinand and the outbreak of the First World War. The author presents other examples of imperial meddling, such as the creation of an Albanian state by Austria-Hungary and Italian as a way of checking Serbian and Greek power: despite being “…no strong advocates of nationalism in general,” the Austrians saw that “…a large and strong national Albania was a good way to guarantee control of the Adriatic.” Use evidence from this extract to explain why European powers were interested in conflicts in the Balkans at this time.
Source Interpretation practice Look at Resources C and D on Pg 36 of your textbook. Use evidence from both cartoons to show the impact of events in the Balkans on Europe’s Great Powers.