The Balkan Wars consisted of two conflicts that took place in the Balkan Peninsula in south-eastern Europe in 1912 and 1913. Four Balkan states defeated the Ottoman Empire in the first war, one of the four, Bulgaria, the Ottoman Empire lost the bulk of its territory in Europe. Austria-Hungary, although not a combatant, became relatively weaker as a much enlarged Serbia pushed for union of the South Slavic peoples, the war set the stage for the Balkan crisis of 1914 and thus served as a prelude to the First World War. By the early 20th century, Bulgaria, Greece, Montenegro and Serbia had achieved independence from the Ottoman Empire, in 1912 these countries formed the Balkan League. The First Balkan War had three main causes, The Ottoman Empire was unable to reform itself, govern satisfactorily, or deal with the rising nationalism of its diverse peoples. The Great Powers quarreled amongst themselves and failed to ensure that the Ottomans would carry out the needed reforms and this led the Balkan states to impose their own solution. Most importantly, the Balkan League had been formed, and its members were confident that it could defeat the Turks. The Ottoman Empire lost all its European territories to the west of the River Maritsa as a result of the two Balkan Wars, which thus delineated present-day Turkeys western border, a large influx of Turks started to flee into the Ottoman heartland from the lost lands. By 1914, the core region of the Ottoman Empire had experienced a population increase of around 2.5 million because of the flood of immigration from the Balkans. Citizens of Turkey regard the Balkan Wars as a disaster in the nations history. Nazım Pasha, Chief of Staff of the Ottoman Army, was responsible for the failure and was assassinated on 23 January 1913 during the 1913 Ottoman coup détat carried out by the Young Turks. The First Balkan War began when the League member states attacked the Ottoman Empire on 8 October 1912, the Second Balkan War was begun on 16 June 1913. Seeing the treaty as trampled, Bulgaria was dissatisfied over the division of the spoils in Macedonia, the more numerous combined Serbian and Greek armies repelled the Bulgarian offensive and counter-attacked into Bulgaria. Romania, who having taken no part in the conflict, had intact armies to strike with, the Ottoman Empire also attacked Bulgaria and advanced in Thrace regaining Adrianople. The background to the lies in the incomplete emergence of nation-states on the European territory of the Ottoman Empire during the second half of the 19th century. Serbia had gained territory during the Russo-Turkish War, 1877–1878, while Greece acquired Thessaly in 1881. All three countries, as well as Montenegro, sought additional territories within the large Ottoman-ruled region known as Rumelia, comprising Eastern Rumelia, Albania, Macedonia, throughout the 19th century, the Great Powers shared different aims over the Eastern Question and the integrity of the Ottoman Empire. Russia wanted access to the waters of the Mediterranean from the Black Sea, it pursued a pan-Slavic foreign policy
Prilep Battle 1912 Postcard
Germany, France, Russia, Austria-Hungary, and Britain attempting to keep the lid on the simmering cauldron of imperialist and nationalist tensions in the Balkans to prevent a general European war. They were successful in 1912 and 1913 but did not succeed in 1914.