Greek partisan in Macedonia, about 1905
(Emmanuil Katsigaris)

(1) Rising instability in the Balkans, 1903-1911

==Jun.10 > Brutal military coup in Serbia [200.AM]: the pro-Austrian Obrenovich Dynasty is overthrown; the unpopular King Alexander and Queen Draga are murdered - the Karageorgevich Dynasty is restored


==Jan.--- > Serbia places a large arms order with France and resists Austrian pressure to cancel it - the start of overt Serbian-Austrian friction

Ottoman Empire.Germany.
==early.1904 > The Turks begin the construction of the Hejaz Railway (Damascus to Medina) under the direction of German engineers

Macedonia.Bulgaria.Ottoman Empire.
==Apr.08 > Bulgaria and the Ottoman Empire reach an accord in the wake of the failed Macedonian revolt of 1903 - the Turks pledge to implement reform in Macedonia and Bulgaria agrees to suppress Macedonian terrorists

==Apr.12(OS?) > Secret Serbian-Bulgarian military accords lead to improved relations - Austria-Hungary is troubled

==summer > The Mürzsteg Accord goes into effect in Macedonia, authorizing a gendarmerie under foreign officers - but chaos continues

==late.Oct > Russo-Austrian neutrality pact on Balkans


==Mar.30 > At Therissos in Crete, the local political leader Venizelos proclaims union with Greece and launches a revolt against High Commissioner Prince George and the occupation forces of the powers
==Apr.21 > The Cretan Assembly backs Venizelos' revolt and proclaims union - the Cretans clash with the powers’ occupying troops

Macedonia.Europe.Ottoman Empire.
==May.08 > An international commission is established to oversee Macedonian finances - it is thwarted by the Turks

Romania.Ottoman Empire.
==May.23 > The arrest of Romanian school inspectors by the Turks in Yannina provokes a crisis

==Jun.22(OS?) > Secret Serbian-Bulgarian commercial treaty, to go into effect in Mar.1906, the first step towards a virtual economic union by 1917 - the accord provokes Austrian pressure against Serbia

Macedonia.Europe.Ottoman Empire.
The European powers pressure the Turks to impose reform in Macedonia:
==Nov.11 > The powers stage a naval demonstration off of the Straits
==Nov.26 > The powers send five warships to seize Mytilene (Lesbos)
==Dec.05 > The powers’ naval squadron seizes Lemnos customs house - the Ottoman regime soon agrees to reform Macedonian finances
==Dec.16 > The Turks accept an international control plan for Macedonia - the powers evacuate Lemnos

==Nov.18 > Leaders of the Croats and Serbs under Hapsburg rule meet at Zara to promote a south Slav union, and declare that “Serbs and Croats are one nation”

==1905 >  The Slavonic South society is established by Serbian nationalists in Belgrade - the group becomes active in Austria-Hungary


==Jan.--- > Austria boycotts Serbian goods to apply pressure against the ratification of the Serbian-Bulgarian trade pact
==Feb.--- > Serbia drops its trade pact with Bulgaria, but refuses further commercial demands from Austria
==Mar.01 > The Austro-Serbian commercial treaty lapses - the commercial ‘Pig War’ to 1909, as Austria tries to dominate the Serbian economy

Britain.Russia.Ottoman Empire.
==Nov.--- > Britain hints at willingness to discuss the Russian role in the Straits - Anglo-Russian talks pick up

==1906 > Reviving Russian activity in the Balkans and influence in Serbia

==1906 > The Nacertanije (a memo from 1844 defining Serbian goals for regional hegemony) is made public


Russia.Britain.Ottoman Empire.
==mid.Mar > Grey secretly informs Russia that Britain is no longer opposed to Russian warships passing the Straits into the Mediterranean

==summer > Austria dissuades Ferdinand of Bulgaria from proclaiming independence from the Ottoman Empire

==Oct.--- > Austrian Foreign Minister Aehrenthal temporarily supports a conciliatory policy towards Serbia

Austria-Hungary.Russia.Ottoman Empire.
==Oct.--- > Russian Foreign Minister Izvolsky discusses the revision of the Straits Treaty with a non-committal Aehrenthal

==Nov.18 > Austrian Chief of Staff Conrad urges Aehrenthal to annex Bosnia in preparation for a war against Italy, while downplaying the prospect of Russian intervention
==Dec.11 > The Austrian Council of Ministers discusses annexing Bosnia - Aehrenthal and Conrad favor an aggressive policy

Macedonia.Europe.Ottoman Empire.
==Dec.--- > British Foreign Secretary Grey suggests driving the Turks from Macedonia and imposing reform - Austria and Russia are annoyed by the proposal

January-June 1908

==Jan.27 > Austria announces plans for a Sanjak-Salonika railroad - the scheme is supported by the Ottoman Sultan, but opposed by the Entente and the Serbs

Russia.Ottoman Empire.
==Feb.03 > Russian Foreign Minister Izvolsky proposes an Anglo-Russian seizure of the Straits to the Russian Council of Ministers - his plan is turned down

==Mar.--- > Aehrenthal's overtures to Bulgaria - Austria makes reassurances in the event that the status quo in the Balkans is abandoned

Macedonia.Europe.Ottoman Empire.
==Mar.--- > British Foreign Secretary Grey proposes autonomy for Macedonia

==Apr.--- > Austrian Governor Burrian advocates the annexation of Bosnia

Macedonia.Europe.Ottoman Empire.
==Jun.09-10 > Edward VII and the Czar cordially meet at Reval (Tallin) - plans to install a mostly European administration in Macedonia under an Ottoman governor to be approved by the powers - Germany and the dissident Ottoman CUP are angered

July-August 1908

Bosnia.Austria-Hungary.Russia.Ottoman Empire.
==Jul.02 > Russian Foreign Minister Izvolsky offers to support the Austrian annexation of Bosnia if Austria backs Russian designs on the Straits

Ottoman Empire.
==Jul.23-25 > The Young Turk revolt in the Ottoman Empire ends autocratic rule by the Sultan

==late.Jul > Austrian foreign Minister Aehrenthal decides to annex Bosnia, in the face of the impending convening of an Ottoman Parliament

==Jul.27 > The powers withdraw their peacekeeping force from Crete

==Aug.05 > Aehrenthal hints to Ferdinand that Austria would back Bulgarian independence if the Balkan status quo is upset

==Aug.19 > Aehrenthal suggests to the Council of Ministers that Austria annex Bosnia and evacuate Sanjak; the proposal is quickly accepted - Conrad assures the Council that “Russia was presently not capable of fighting a Warx.”

Bosnia.Austria-Hungary.Russia.Ottoman Empire.
==Aug.29 > Austria proposes a pact with Russia on Bosnia and the Straits

September 1908

==Sep.04 > Aehrenthal tells Italy to keep out of Albania and to not expect compensation if Bosnia is annexed - but promises that there will be no surprises

Bulgaria.Ottoman Empire.
==Sep.12 > The Ottoman regime snubs Bulgaria - the Bulgarian envoy to the Turks is soon recalled

Bosnia.Austria-Hungary.Russia.Ottoman Empire.
==Sep.15-16 > The Russian-Austrian Buchlau Conference: Izvolsky (who assumes that the pact will be submitted to a European conference) backs the eventual Austrian annexation of Bosnia in return for vague promises by Aehrenthal of support for the Russian control of the Straits

Bulgaria.Ottoman Empire.
==Sep.19 > Bulgaria nationalizes Turkish railroads within Bulgarian territory

==Sep.23-24 > Ferdinand meets Aehrenthal in Budapest - evidently, Austria supports Bulgarian independence

Russia.Ottoman Empire.Germany.
==Sep.26 > Izvolsky meets German Foreign Minister Schon - Schon agrees to Russian control of the Straits if Germany is compensated

Russia.Ottoman Empire.Italy.
==Sep.29-30 > A conference between Izvolsky and Italian Foreign Minister Tittoni is held at Desio - Italy backs Russian ambitions in the Straits in return for Russian support for Italian goals in Tripoli and Albania

==Sep.29 > Austria informs its ambassadors of its impending annexation of Bosnia

October 1908

==Oct.02 > The details of Buchlau Agreement are revealed to the dismayed Russian Council of Ministers

==Oct.03 > The first hints of the impending Austrian annexation of Bosnia leak to the public via the French press
==Oct.04-05 > Austria formally notifies Germany and other signatories of the Berlin Treaty that Bosnia is about to be annexed

Bulgaria.Ottoman Empire.
==Oct.05 > Ferdinand proclaims Bulgarian independence from the Ottoman Empire [1100.AM], entitling himself ‘tsar’ - the Bulgarian public is not completely enthusiastic

==Oct.06 > Austria annexes Bosnia: THE BOSNIAN CRISIS to Apr.1909 - Austrian Foreign Minister Aehrenthal dupes Russian Foreign Minister Izvolsky - Russia, Serbia, the Turks, and Italy are enraged - ~Serbian agitation against Austria intensifies

==Oct.07 > A pro-Greek revolt erupts in Crete

==Oct.08 > Serbian nationalists establish the secret Narodna Odbrana (National Defense) society at Belgrade City Hall; they soon form networks of terrorists throughout the southern Slav lands

Russia.Ottoman Empire.Britain.
==Oct.09-14 > Izvolsky visits London, but he fails to secure British support - his hopes for securing Russian control of the Straits are dashed

==Oct.12 > Led by Venizelos, the Cretan assembly proclaims a union with Greece, but Greek Premier Theotokis hesitates and looses the chance of union

==Oct.22 > Aehrenthal, backed by Germany, rejects the proposed European conference on Bosnia, thwarting Izvolsky

==Oct.28 > The Serbian crown prince visits St. Petersburg, where he is greeted by enthusiastic crowds

==Oct.30 > Bülow offers Aehrenthal full German support in the Bosnian Crisis

November-December 1908

==Nov.02 > Serbia is aware that Russia won't go to war over Bosnia

==Nov.05 > Grey advises the Admiralty to keep in readiness in case war breaks out against Germany

==Nov.10 > Grey declines to clarify whether Britain would back Russia in a war against Austria and Germany

Ottoman Empire.Britain.
==Nov.--- > A CUP (Young Turk) delegation to London fails to secure a British alliance for the Ottoman Empire

==Dec.09 > The King of Italy, disgusted by the Austrian annexation of Bosnia, tells the American ambassador that treaties are only “worth the value of the paper.  The only real strength lies in bayonets and cannon.”
==Dec.--- > The Italian Parliament’s debate on the Balkan situation is criticized by conservatives, who deny that Parliament has any right to discuss foreign policy

==Dec.10 > Russian War Minister Rediger speculates to the German attaché that Germany is provoking a war “to decide all pending questions together” and admits “It is out of the question for Russia to fight a war on account of the Serbs.” - the Kaiser writes on the report “this would be the best moment to settle accounts with the Russians.”

Russia.Ottoman Empire.Balkans.
==Dec.25 > Speaking to the Duma, Russian Foreign Minister Izvolsky calls for an unrealistic Balkan-Turkish League

==Dec.--- > Austria partially, ‘secretly’ mobilizes against Serbia

January 1909

==Jan.16 > The German ambassador reports that Russian Foreign Minister Izvolsky has warned that Balkan tensions will ultimately be resolved by war: “Perhaps this conflict will not break out for five or ten years, but it is inevitable...”

==Jan.21 > Moltke and Conrad, the German and Austrian Chiefs of Staff, begin corresponding - Moltke promises that if Austria attacks Serbia and is attacked by Russia, Germany will intervene even if France is drawn in: Germany is committed to a general war - the German-Austrian alliance effectively changes from defensive to offensive, with Austria allowed to control events

==Jan.29 > Aehrenthal refuses a pre-emptive attack on Italy, telling the agressive Conrad “Today, one does not fight preventive wars.”

February 1909

==Feb.16 > Serbia mobilizes against Austria-Hungary

==Feb.18 > Conrad lectures Aehrenthal that only war and military victory can restore Austria’s prestige

==Feb.21 > Ferdinand of Bulgaria is recognized as ‘tsar’ in a visit to St Petersburg - he seeks Russian aid in paying off the Turks

==Feb.26 > France urges Russia to back down on Bosnia

Austria-Hungary.Ottoman Empire.
==Feb.26 > Austrian-Turkish pact: the Turks recognize the Austrian annexation of Bosnia and receive compensation

==Feb.27 > Russia advises Serbia to drop its demands for compensation from Austria and to make no provocative military moves on the border

March 1909

==Mar.02 > The powers pressure Serbia to accept the Austrian annexation of Bosnia

==early.Mar > ~Austrian troops are massing on the Serbian frontier

==Mar.08 > Guchkov reveals to the Duma that the the Russian army is completely unprepared to fight over Bosnia - Germany and Austria are emboldened

==Mar.10 > A Serbian note to the powers renounces compensation from Austria for its annexation of Bosnia - Austria is not satisfied; backed by Germany she demands direct Serbian assurances - the crisis intensifies

==Mar.14 > Germany offers to Russia to broker a settlement of the Bosnia Crisis

==Mar.17 > The Kaiser eagerly supports an Austrian invasion of Serbia

==Mar.17 > The Russian Council of Ministers decides that Russia is entirely unable to support Serbia in the event of war - Foreign Minister Izvolsky vaguely replies to German demands (or Mar.13 and Mar.20)
==Mar.21 > A German ultimatum to Russia demands that Russia recognize the Austrian annexation of Bosnia and cease aiding Serbia or “things will take their course” - Germany is entirely committed to propping up Austria
==Mar.22 > Russia yields to the German ultimatum and recognizes the Austrian annexation of Bosnia - the end of the Bosnian Crisis - deep Russian bitterness toward Germany and Austria

==Mar.25 > The Austrian historian Friedjung publishes an article accusing the Serb-Croat Coalition in Croatia of treasonable collusion with Serbia

==Mar.29 > Austria orders a partial mobilization against Serbia
==Mar.31 > Serbia submits to the Austrian annexation of Bosnia, and is compelled to pledge friendship to Austria

April-December 1909

Bulgaria.Ottoman Empire.
==Apr.19 > The Turks recognize Bulgarian independence

==Apr.27 > Germany, Austria, and Italy recognize Bulgarian independence

==Apr.--- > Russia agrees to pay part of Bulgaria’s compensation to the Turks - increased Russian influence in Bulgaria

==Jun.--- > The Austro-Serbian commercial pact is ‘provisionally’ renewed, ending the economic ‘Pig War’ - Austria abandons the attempt to dominate Serbia’s economy

Greece.Europe.Ottoman Empire.
Crete makes another attempt at unifying with Greece:
==mid.Jul > The powers announce their intent to entirely withdraw from Crete, but warn against reunion with Greece
==Jul.26 > The powers evacuate Crete
==Jul.29 > Cretan nationalists again proclaim union with Greece
==end.Jul > Greek nationalists bring down the Theotokis government after it ignores the Cretan proclamation for reunion with Greece - ~the Turks force the new Raillis government to disavow any attempt at a Greek union with Crete

Ottoman Empire.Europe.
==Jul.--- > An Ottoman parliamentary mission leaves for Paris and London to propose that an international parliament for peace be located in Constantinople - the mission fails to secure a western alliance

Macedonia.Greece.Ottoman Empire.
==mid.Aug > ~The Turks force the Greek Raillis government to disavow Greek activity in Macedonia

Italy.Russia.Ottoman Empire.
==Oct.24 > The Racconigi Agreement: Italy agrees to back Russia’s Straits policy in return for support for Italian designs on Tripoli; the accord is directed against Austria

==late.Nov. > Foreign Minister Aehrenthal pressures Emperor Franz Joseph into forbidding military espionage missions, crippling the the Austrian intelligence services and rendering Austria ‘militarily blind’, especially in the Balkans

==Nov.--- > Draft Russian-Bulgarian alliance

==late.Dec > The Kaiser playfully slaps Tsar Ferdinand on the butt - Bulgaria drops a deal with Krupp and buys French arms instead

==Dec.--- > Austria and Italy agree to consult on any changes in the Balkans

==Dec.--- > Bulgaria raises a large Austrian loan, angering Russia

==1909 > The Pan-Slav zealot Hartwig is named Russian ambassador to Belgrade, where he encourages Serbian defiance of Austria

Ottoman Empire.Germany.
==1909 > General Goltz is sent by Germany to advise the Ottoman Army - the start of German military influence over the Turks


==Feb.--- > Partial, superficial Russian-Austrian reconciliation - they agree to maintain the status quo in the Balkans

Albania.Ottoman Empire.
==late.Mar-1912 > Large-scale Albanian revolts against the Turks

Ottoman Empire.Britain.
==Mar.29 > The British ambassador in Constantinople reports that the ruling CUP is controlled by pro-American Jewish Freemasons - Britain thoroughly misunderstands Turkish affairs

==spring > Austro-Romanian military talks: Romanian forces are to deploy on the Austrian right flank in Galicia in the event of war

==Jun.15 > The Serbian student Zerajic kills himself after attempting to kill the Governor of Bosnia - the start of Serbian nationalist terrorism against Austria

==Jun.--- > Ferdinand of Bulgaria’s triumphant state visit to France, where he becomes the first monarch to fly in an airplane

==Aug.--- > The Serbian Foreign Minister confides to Aehrenthal that the Serbian government desires Austrian friendship and wants to suppress anti-Austrian nationalist agitation

Ottoman Empire.France.
==Oct.--- > France refuses a much-needed loan to the Ottoman Empire - ~Turkish demonstrations against France and Britain

==fall > Aehrenthal defends his Balkan policies to the Austrian Delegations: “Austria desires peace and the maintenance of equilibrium.”

Serbia.Ottoman Empire.
==late.1910 > The Turkish nationalist CUP secretly meets with the Serbian nationalist Narodna Odbrana in Belgrade

==Nov.03-04 > The tentative Russo-German Potsdam Agreement: among other issues, Germany promises not to support Austrian ambitions in the Balkans - the accord soon collapses


==Apr.--- > Franz Joseph names Ferdinand of Bulgaria a Knight of the Golden Fleece - ~Bulgaria is effectively playing Russia off against Austria

==May.09-22 > The secret terrorist Black Hand organization is established by Serbian nationalists (also known as ‘Unity or Death’), partly funded by the Serbian Crown Prince - it largely replaces Narodna Odbrana

Montenegro.Russia.Ottoman Empire.
==May.23 > Russia warns the Turks to withdraw their troops from the frontier of Montenegro

Albania.Ottoman Empire.
==Jul.21 > A southern Albanian congress at Gjirokastër demands that any Turkish concessions to the north be extended to the south as well
==early.Aug > An Ottoman-Albanian settlement is reached: the Turks extend concessions to all of Albania, but reject autonomy - the Albanian revolt again temporarily eases

Ottoman Empire.Britain.
==Jul.31 > Britain proposes to internationalize the Baghdad-Basra railroad - the Turks eventually refuse

==summer > The ambitious Tsar Ferdinand gains full control of Bulgarian foreign policy

Italy.Ottoman Empire.
==Sep.29-Oct.1912 > The Tripolitanian War: an Italian-Turkish war is ignited by an Italian invasion of Libya

Ottoman Empire.Russia.
==Oct.02 > Russian Ambassador Charykov proposes that the Turks agree to a Balkan League and to Russian naval access to the Straits in return for a Russian guarantee of Turkey-in-Europe; the Turks are unenthused - on Nov.02, the proposals are blocked by the British - on Dec.06, Foreign Minister Sazonov repudiates the scheme

==Oct.--- > Serbia and Bulgaria begin discussing an alliance, encouraged by the Russian ambassador

Ottoman Empire.Britain.
==end.1911 > Ottoman Finance Minister Djavid proposes a permanent Anglo-Turkish alliance - only Churchill shows any interest, and he is restrained by the Foreign Office

Albania.Ottoman Empire.
==Dec.--- > Albanian deputies in the Ottoman Parliament demand autonomy, provoking an angry debate - Albanian leaders begin preparations for a renewed revolt

==1911 > Venizelos invites a French military training mission - Greece is aligning with the Entente

Photo of Katsigaris from Hellenic Macedonia

Introduction   ///   (2) The Balkan Wars and their aftermath, 1912-1914