Balkan Wars 1912/13

The Balkan Wars of 1912/13 represented a fundamental turning point in the history of Southeastern Europe: The First Balkan War marked the end of centuries of Ottoman rule in Europe (with the exception of Vilayet Adrianopel/Edirne) and significantly changed the political map. The Second Balkan War reflected the intra-Balkan antagonisms and created unfulfilled territorial aspirations and secession fears.

The two wars are significant not only because of their consequences for the territorial order of the region, but also due to their novel character:

  • The actors used new mechanisms to legitimise military action and used the war to achieve far-reaching socio-political goals, in particular with regard to ethnic homogenisation. The Balkan Wars are associated with massive ethnic cleansing.
  • Finally, the Balkan Wars have a great international significance, since they made the distortions in an increasingly unbalanced European visible and stronger. In retrospect they appear as harbingers of the coming Great War.

Picture Credits

Politische Einführung: „Balkan troubles1” von Leonard Raven-Hill © via Wikimedia Commons, gemeinfrei | Überblick zum Kriegsgeschehen: „Српска артилерија во близина на Битола, Балкански војни, 1912 г.” von N.N. © via Wikimedia Commons, gemeinfrei | Digitalisierte Literatur: „Balkan League poster” von Philly boy92 © via Wikimedia Commons, gemeinfrei/CC BYSA 3.0 | Auswahlbibliografie 1990-2013: „Спиритический сеанс (карикатура, 1912)” von Вл. Мат © via Wikimedia Commons, gemeinfrei | Ortskonkordanz sowie interaktive und digitalisierte Karten: „Balkan belligerants 1914” in Report of the International Commission to Inquire into the Causes and Conduct of the Balkan War (S. 55) © Carnegie Endowment for International Peace via Wikimedia Commons (Scan und Upload durch VMORO), CC0 | Chronologie: „Така наречените Јуначки гробишта, Младо Нагоричане, Куманово, Балкански војни, 1912 г.” von N.N. © via Wikimedia Commons, gemeinfrei | Bildmaterial: „Die Wölfe (Balkankrieg), 1913“ von Franz Marc © via Wikimedia Commons, gemeinfrei | Filmmaterial: „Македонские четники (1912)“ von N.N. © via Wikimedia Commons, gemeinfrei | Who is Who: „Papakostas-1913: Greek revolutionary Ioannis Papakostas (John Costas), volunteer in the Second Boer War and First Balkan war” von N.N. © via Wikimedia Commons, gemeinfrei (photo scanned from book "Χρήστου Δ. Λάζου, «Έλληνες στα λαικά απελευθερωτικά κινήματα», εκδ. Αλεβιζόπουλος, Αθήνα 1983", page 155) | Interessante Links: „Albanian caricature 1913” von George F. Williams © via Wikimedia Commons, gemeinfrei

Editorial office

The thematic dossier "Balkan Wars 1912/13" is supervised by the Leibniz Institute for East and Southeast European Studies and the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek. Researchers from all areas of Eastern and Southern European studies are explicitly invited to contact the editorial staff with suggestions, corrections and questions. 

Contact the editorial office