Nov 11, 2010

World war one in the Balkans

World war one in the Balkans

After repelling three Austrian invasions during August-December 1914, Serbia fell to combined invasion by Germany, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Kingdom of Bulgaria, (the latter of which joined the Central Powers in September, 1915) in October 1915. The Serbian army was defeated at Gjilan Kosovo (near the ancient mining city of Novo Brdo), then retreated into Albania and Greece. In late 1915, a Franco-British force landed at Salonica in Greece to offer assistance and to pressure the Greek government into war against the Central Powers. Unfortunately for the Allies, the pro-allied Greek government of Eleftherios Venizelos was dismissed, by the pro-German King Constantine I, before the allied expeditionary force had even arrived. The King then further prevented official Greek entry into the war for two years, until 1917.

Meanwhile, the Salonica Front proved entirely immobile, so much so that it was joked that Salonica was the largest German prisoner of war camp. Only at the very end of the war, after most of the German and Austro-Hungarian troops had been removed, leaving the Front held by the Bulgarians alone, were the Entente powers able to make a breakthrough. This led to Bulgaria's signing an armistice on September 29, 1918.

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