The Balkans has always been a point of contention between the East and the West, and although the various incarnations of Hungary, Austria, and Austria-Hungary tended to dominate next to the advancing Ottoman Army, Russia was always nipping at the edges and creating leverage with the large number of Orthodox Slavs in Central Europe.  That …

  • February 24, 2021
  • Bulgaria , Croatia
  • Comments Off on We Must Stop the Bear!

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The last thousand years of Balkan history is a tale of three powers pulling on the limbs of an infant, as in the Biblical parable of Solomon’s wisdom.  The Balkan baby is yanked first toward Austria, then toward Russia, and all the while the Ottoman Empire is pulling steadily on its legs.  The arguments between …

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The provinces of Bosnia and Herzegovina shall be occupied and administered by Austria-Hungary…Austria-Hungary reserves the right to maintain garrisons and to have military and trading roads over the whole area of that portion [the Sandjak of Novi Pazar] of the ancient Vilayet of Bosnia. The diplomatic coda to the Pig War of 1906-1908 became, like …

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Very rarely is a shooting war in the Balkans about the subject which everyone claims was the Cassius Belli.  Sometimes it is about a political slight related the the topic, but usually it’s about money.  The same is true of economic wars.  The Great European Imperial Spheres of Influence criss-crossed the Balkans, and frequently collided …

  • February 16, 2021
  • Hungary
  • Comments Off on French Artillery in the Balkans

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On 1 March 1906 Austria-Hungary decided they had enough of what they considered Serbia’s perfidy and decided to hit the Balkan country back where it would hurt – by denying Serbian products entry into the Austro-Hungarian market.  This decree hit one economic sector in particular, and it is that sector that gave this crisis its …

  • February 16, 2021
  • Comments Off on The War That Wasn’t Quite a War

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By the Battle Of Kumanovo on 23 – 24 October 1912, the First Balkan War was young, but already in full swing – it would be a decisive victory for the Serbian forces, and a shattering loss for the Ottoman.  Just a week prior, on 18 October 1912, King Peter I of Serbia had issued …

  • October 9, 2020
  • Comments Off on Franco-Serbian Tactics and Prussian-Ottoman Strategy in Kumanovo

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“If you want to have serious riots in Yugoslavia or cause a regime change, you need to kill me.  Shoot at me and be sure you have finished me off, because that’s the only way to make changes in Yugoslavia,” King Alexander I of Serbia to the Italian government after the Velabit Uprising in 1932. …

  • September 18, 2020
  • Comments Off on A Very Balkan Assassination

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The nineteenth century wasn’t a great time for the Ottoman Empire.  It wasn’t the worst time, that would be the beginning of the twentieth century when everything collapsed.  But for an empire that had been the strong conqueror of Europe out of Asia, it was a catastrophe. The coming fall of the Ottomans was so …

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“Is any man afraid of change?  What can take place without change?  What then is more pleasing or more suitable to the universal nature?  Can you take a bath unless the wood undergoes a change?  Can you be nourished unless the food undergoes a change?  Can anything else that is useful be accomplished without change?” …

  • August 10, 2020
  • Comments Off on The Plague that Killed the Emperor

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The most popular walking tours in London include strolling by known plague pit sites, where the hundreds of thousands of Londoners who died during the numerous outbreaks of plague are buried.  The Black Death killed between 1/3 and 2/3 of Europe’s inhabitants over the course of its random and terrifying outbreaks. The impact of the …

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