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204 The Bulgarian Summer

As the Great War drags on, Bulgarian participation becomes ever more valuable. Now, as the Spring of 1915 turns to summer both the Entente and Central Powers are vying for Bulgaria's support like never before. Meanwhile, new powers are entering the war and failures on the battlefield are reshaping the war again and again.



Major Characters in this Episode:

Tsar Ferdinand

PM Radoslavov

Foreign Minister Nikola Genadiev

Winston Churchill

Fernand DesClosières


Timeline for this episode:

  • 1915, Apr 10th - The Ottomans begin deporting Armenian intellectuals to Ankara, marking the first acts of the Armenian Genocide.

  • 1915, Apr 11th - Entente forces begin landing at Gallipoli.

  • 1915, Apr 12th - The Treaty of London is signed between the Entente and Italy. About a week later, Italy revokes its defensive alliance with the Central Powers.

  • 1915, Apr 14th - Yane Sandanski is assassinated.

  • 1915, May 9th - Italy enters the war on the side of the Entente.

  • 1915, May 16th - The Entente offers Bulgaria the portion of Eastern Thrace it lost in the Second Balkan War, the former “undisputed zone” of Vardar Macedonia, as well as support in obtaining Kavala and Southern Dobrudja if they attack the Ottomans.

  • 1915, Jun 2nd - The Central Powers offer Bulgaria all of Vardar Macedonia and the Moravia region of Serbia alongside support in taking Kavala and Southern Dobrudja if they attack Serbia.

  • 1915, Jul 21st - The Entente sends its previous offer a second time.

  • 1915, Jun-Sep - The Russians retreat from Poland and Galicia.

  • 1915, Jul - A French newspaper publishes an interview with Ivan Gueshov in which he criticized the Bulgarian government and the Entente.

  • 1915, Jul-Sep - The Entente purchases the entire Bulgarian harvest in the green in order to send it to Russia by bribing people in the Bulgarian Commercial bank. Foreign Minister Genadiev runs this operation.

  • 1915, Aug 15th - The first Bulgarian-built airplane conducts its first test flight at Bozhurishte.

  • 1915, Aug 24th - Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire sign a protocol clarifying their border. This hands over around 2,500 square kilometers along the west coast of the Maritsa in order to create space for a railway line to the port at Dedeagach.

  • 1915, Aug 24th - Bulgaria signs a series of secret treaties with Germany promising to attack Serbia in exchange for the lands previously promised. Bulgaria also agreed to coordinate troops, military supplies, and financial relief.

  • 1915, Aug 31st - A third offer from the Entente promises Bulgaria the undisputed zone of Vardar Macedonia after the war if it does not intervene.

Sources used in this episode:

  • Foxy Ferdinand: Tsar of Bulgaria by Stephen Constant

  • The Rose of the Balkans: A Short History of Bulgaria by Ivan Ilchev

  • История на България в Дати by Vasil Katsunov, Plamen Mitev, Valeri Kolev, Evgenia Kalinova, and Iskra Baeva

  • A Concise History of Bulgaria by R.J. Crampton

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

  • The Balkans by Misha Glenny

  • Peasants in Power by John D. Bell

  • Balkan Breakthrough by Richard C. Hall



Serbian territories promised to Bulgaria by the Central Powers in Summer, 1915
Serbian territories promised to Bulgaria by the Central Powers in Summer, 1915


Territory promised to Italy for joining the Entente in 1915
Territory promised to Italy for joining the Entente in 1915

Territory ceded by the Ottoman Empire to Bulgaria in late summer 1915
Territory ceded by the Ottoman Empire to Bulgaria in late summer 1915

A snack I grabbed in Veliko Tarnovo with a fake newspaper covering the siege of Przemyśl

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