First Balkan War
The First Balkan War was fought between the Balkan League and the Ottoman Empire which was still entangled in a war against the Italians. During the course of the war, the Balkan League (Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Bulgaria) first liberated Ottoman-held Macedonia, Epirus and most of Thrace and then fell out over the division of the spoils, Bulgaria suffering defeat at the hands of her former allies (see Second Balkan War) and losing much of what she had gained in the original conflict.
History behind the Conflict
With the advent of independence of the Christian states in the Balkans (Greece, Serbia, Bulgaria), inevitably tensions arose. The new states were smaller than the historic pre-Ottoman nations. Many persons were still left outside the borders of their respective nation-state. Furthermore, there were conflicts not only between these Balkan states and the Ottoman Empire but also among themselves. Rival armed gangs appeared in Macedonia fighting not only the Turks but also each other.
Tensions among the Balkan states over their rival aspirations in Macedonia subsided somewhat following intervention by the Great Powers around 1908, aimed at securing both fuller protection for the province's Christian majority and protection of the status quo. The question of Ottoman rule's viability revived, however, after the Young Turk revolution of July 1908 compelled the Sultan to restore the suspended Ottoman constitution.
Serbia looked to Kosovo and the south, Greek officers secured the appointment of a sympathetic government which they hoped would resolve the Cretan issue in Greece's favour and reverse their defeat of 1897 and Bulgaria, which had secured Ottoman recognition of her independence in April 1909 and enjoyed the friendship of Russia, also looked to districts of Ottoman Thrace and north-eastern Macedonia for expansion. In March 1910, an Albanian insurrection broke out in Kosovo. In August 1910 Montenegro followed Bulgaria's precedent by becoming a kingdom.
Outbreak of War
Montenegro started the first Balkan war by declaring war against the Ottomans on October 8, 1912. The Greeks took Thessaloniki and Epirus, Macedonia and Thrace fell to the allies and the Ottomans were pressed to maintain the defense of Constantinople. An armistice was signed between Bulgaria (representing also Serbia and Montenegro) and Turkey on December 3rd. Greece continued the war alone, aiming at the capture of Ioannina, while it participated in the London peace conferences. The Treaty of London ended the First Balkan War on May 30, 1913, but disputes over territory remained unresolved.
|Battles of the First Balkan War|
|Battle of Lemnos||Sea||Greeks||Ottomans||Oct 8 1912||1|
|Battle of Sarantaporo||Greeks||Crown Prince Constantine||Ottomans||Hasan Tahsin Pasha||Oct 9 1912||1|
|Battle of Giannitsa||Greeks||Crown Prince Constantine||Ottomans||Hasan Tahsin Pasha||Oct 19-20 1912||1|
|Battle of Kumanovo||Serbians||Ottomans||Oct 23 1912||1|
|Battle of Kirk Kelesse||Bulgarians||Ottomans||Oct 24 1912||1|
|Battle of Pente Pigadia||Greeks||Lt Gen K. Sapountzakis||Ottomans||Esat Pasha||Oct 24-30 1912||1|
|Battle of Prelep||Serbians||Ottomans||Oct 27 1912||1|
|Battle of Lule-Burgas||Bulgarians||Ottomans||Oct 28-31 1912||0|
|Battle of Vevi||Greeks||Ottomans||Nov 2 1912||2|
|Battle of Monastir||Serbians||Ottomans||Nov 16-19 1912||1|
|Naval Battle of Elli||Sea||Greeks||Rear Adm Pavlos Kountouriotis||Ottomans||Adm Ramiz Bey||Dec 3 1912||1|
|Siege of Adrianople||Bulgarians||Ottomans||Gen Ghazi Shulkri Pasha||Nov 17-Dec 3 1912||0|
|Naval Battle of Lemnos||Sea||Greeks||Rear Adm Pavlos Kountouriotis||Ottomans||Jan 5-18 1913||1|
|Battle of Bizani||Greeks||Crown Prince Constantine||Ottomans||Esat Pasha||Feb 20-21 1913||1|