The Balkan wars were different then any other wars the Turks
had fought. Though the Turks were undoubtedly good soldiers, they had
been used to outnumbering their enemies in wars that they fought. As a
result of threats from many fronts, the Ottoman Empire had
spread its large and significant army throughout its empire thus weakening it. Though
several hundred thousand troops still remained in the Balkans the alliance
of Greece, Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro served many more troops than the
in the Turkish Army being outnumbered two to one. In the past many enemies of the Turks were not armed
as heavily, this new alliance of nations was heavily
armed with the newest military equipment. The defeat of the Ottoman Empire's
army at the hands of the alliances armies in the Balkans was only a matter of time.
Knowing full well the state of the Ottoman empire and
fearing the impending genocide of their peoples the alliance decided to
crush the Ottoman Empire's army in the Balkans. On the 4th of October
1914 Bulgaria, Serbia and Montenegro declared war on the Ottoman Empire.
The Ottoman Empire responded by declaring war on Bulgaria and Serbia and hoped for Greece to
stay out of the war. The next day Greece respecting the secret
alliance it held with Serbia formally declared war on the Ottoman Empire.
The Turkish army was immediately overwhelmed by the combined
forces and began retreating on all fronts. The Greek soldiers
confident in their new army and anxious to invade the Ottoman Empire one day behind
their allies ran with jubilation across the Greek-Ottoman border at Thessaly
attacking the Ottoman Turkish positions. One after another city after
city fell to the advancing Greek army. The Greek army reached as far
north as the ethnic Greek city of Koritsa in modern Albania. On the
27th of October the Greek army entered victorious into Thessalonica
liberating the capital of Macedonia. Similar victories were occurring on all
fronts with Greece's allies.
Whereas the largest portion of the Greek army was liberating
Macedonia a large segment was liberating Epirus from Ottoman
Occupation. The city of Ioannina with German military assistance had
been fortified so strongly that it was practically impenetrable. The
Greek army fought hard and lost a great many men to capture the city of Ioannina
from the Turkish army. In the city of Ioannina alone thirty
thousand Turkish soldiers surrendered to the Greek army upon its capture. On the 13th
of February 1913 the Greek army marched into Ioannina. The city's
population danced in the streets in jubilation over the liberation cheering
on the Greek army to
The Greek navy also shared many victories in the Aegean Sea
with its admiral Paulos Kountouriotis. The navy managed to liberate
the island of Lemnos and trapped the Turkish navy in the Dardanelles. The
Turkish navy tried many times to break out but was not successful.
The inability of the Turks to leave from the Dardanelles assured the
liberation of the Aegean Islands. One by one the islands of the Aegean fell
to the Greeks Samos, Chios, Lesvos, Imbros, Tenedos and many others.
The Bulgarians now approached the outskirts of
Constantinople. The Turks fearing a catastrophe which would result in
them even losing their capital surrendered. The Ottomans gave up
practically all their holdings in the Balkans accept a little strip of land
that surrounded their capital.
As a result of the war Greece received the islands of the
Aegean excluding the Dodecanese, Southern Epirus, Macedonia, and Crete.
The national conscience was restored with these victories and nearly all the
Greeks in Europe were now free. Greece received nearly all the
territory it demanded yet one prize it did not get "Northern
Epirus". Until this day Northern Epirus resides in foreign hands
with Albania, the community of several hundred thousand Greeks living their
never managing to make their dream of uniting with their homeland come true.
Bulgaria was not satisfied with the peace treaty and as a
result Greece and Serbia joined together attacking Bulgaria in the Second Balkan
War. Though the Second Balkan War was much shorter then the first
it was much more bloody and vicious..
Venizelos · Possibly the greatest
Greek politician of the 20th century. He was Prime Minister of
Greece during the most trying of times.
Melas · A
national Greek hero who fought for the preservation of Hellenism in
Macedonia in the early 20th century.