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199 The First National Catastrophe

The die is cast as Bulgaria embarks on a surprise attack against Serbia and Greece to gain the territories it feels it has earned.



Major Characters in this Episode:

PM Danev

PM Radoslavov

James Bouchier

Tsar Ferdinand

Tsar Nicholas II

General Savov

King Constantine


Timeline for this episode:

  • 1913, June 16th - Bulgarian forces capture the port of Leftera and bombard Greek ships there.

  • 1913, June 16th - Greek troops capture the 1,200 Bulgarian soldiers in Thessaloniki.

  • 1913, June 17-26th - Battle of Bregalnica

  • 1913, June 18th - The Bulgarian government orders the fighting to cease.

  • 1913, June 18th - The Russian government invites the Balkan states to a conference in St. Petersburg.

  • 1913, June 18-19th - Battle of Kalimanci

  • 1913, June 19th - The Serbian army burns the Macedonian village of Zletovo and massacres its population.

  • 1913, June 19-21st - Battle of Krivolak

  • 1913, June 19-21st - The Greek army captures Kilkis, a town north of Thessaloniki, and burns it to the ground.

  • 1913, June 22nd - The First Bulgarian Army captures Knyazhevets.

  • 1913, June 23rd - The Greek army captures Dorian.

  • 1913, June 23rd - The Serbian army captures and executes the headquarters of the Bulgarian 6th Cavalry Regiment.

  • 1913, June 23rd - The Romanian army begins mobilizing.

  • 1913, June 24th - The First Bulgarian Army captures Pirot.

  • 1913, June 26th - The Greek army captures Kavala.

  • 1913, June 28th - The Greek army captures Serres.

  • 1913, June 28th - Romania intervenes by declaring war on Bulgaria.

  • 1913, June 30th - The Ottoman Empire intervenes in the Second Balkan War.

  • 1913, July 1-18 - The Serbian army makes several failed attempts to take Vidin.

  • 1913, July 2nd - The Romanian army crosses the Danube at Oryahovo, Gigen, and Nikopol.

  • 1913, July 2nd - The Serbian army captures Belogradchik

  • 1913, July 4th - The Romanian army captures Dobrich.

  • 1913, July 5th - The Romanian army captures Balchik and Varna.

  • 1913, July 6th - The Greek army captures Nevrokop (modern Gotse Delchev).

  • 1913, July 9-11th - The Greek army pushes north through the Kresna Gorge.

  • 1913, July 10th - Romanian forces reach the outskirts of Sofia (where the airport is now).

  • 1913, July 10th - Ottoman forces take Adrianople.

  • 1913, July 10th - The Greek army captures Bansko and Razlog.

  • 1913, July 11th - Austria-Hungary issues an ultimatum to begin negotiations for an armistice.

  • 1913, July 13th - A new coalition government takes power under Vasil Radoslavov.

  • 1913, July 13th - Turks living in Gorna Dzhumaya begin a revolt against retreating Bulgarian troops.

  • 1913, July 12-14th - The Greek army is repulsed near Simitli.

  • 1913, July 15th - The Romanian army reaches Pirdop and Zlatitsa.

  • 1913, July 15th - The Second Bulgarian Army begins an offensive against Greeks around Bregalnitsa and Mesta, surrounding them in the Kresna Gorge and forcing the Greeks to accept a truce.

  • 1913, July 16th - The Great Powers finalize the borders of the new Principality of Albania. Notes on the new Albanian state, though Serbia refuses to withdraw from Albanian border.

  • 1913, July 17-28th - The Bucharest Peace Conference begins.

  • 1913, July 18th - A 5 day truce (later made indefinite) is agreed to, ending the fighting of the Second Balkan War.

  • 1913, July 28th - The Treaty of Bucharest is signed.

  • 1913, July 29th - The Bulgarian army is demobilized.

  • 1913, July 30th - The National Assembly Allocates half a million leva to support refugees from the wars.

  • 1913, July 30th - Romania, Serbia, Greece, and Montenegro sign an anti-Bulgarian alliance.

Sources used in this episode:

  • For Freedom and Perfection: The Life of Yané Sandansky by Mercia MacDermott

  • The Balkan Wars 1912-1913: Prelude to the First World War by Richard C. Hall

  • Prelude to the First World War: The Balkan Wars 1912-1913 by E.R. Hooton

  • The Wars of Yesterday: The Balkan Wars and the Emergence of Modern Military Conflict, 1912-1913 Edited by Katrin Boeskh and Sabine Rutar

  • The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 by Christopher Clark

  • The Rough Road to Statecraft: The Life of Bulgaria’s Ivan E. Gueshoff by Elena Statelova

  • Foxy Ferdinand: Tsar of Bulgaria by Stephen Constant



A map showing the major fighting of the Second Balkan War
A map showing the major fighting of the Second Balkan War

The positioning of Bulgaria's 5 armies against Serbia and Greece
The positioning of Bulgaria's 5 armies against Serbia and Greece

A Bulgarian trench at the Battle of Kilkis
A Bulgarian trench at the Battle of Kilkis

Greek soldiers during the Battle of Kilkis
Greek soldiers during the Battle of Kilkis

Greek troops moving through the Kresna Gorge
Greek troops moving through the Kresna Gorge

The various proposals for an independent Albania
The various proposals for an independent Albania

The attendees of the Congress of Bucharest
The attendees of the Congress of Bucharest

A political cartoon showing the Romanians pointing a gun at Greece and Serbia while robbing Bulgaria
A political cartoon showing the Romanians pointing a gun at Greece and Serbia while robbing Bulgaria

The new Balkan borders following the conclusion of the Second Balkan War
The new Balkan borders following the conclusion of the Second Balkan War

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