What can a dog do? Well, less than a hundred years ago a stray dog started a war.
Relations between Bulgaria and Greece were at a breaking point at the beginning of the 20th century CE due to their dispute over the territory of Macedonia and Western Thrace, which led to years of war between the groups. armed from 1904 to 1908 CE (the Macedonian struggle) and a few years later, in the apparent conflict between Bulgaria and Greece during the Second Balkan War and the First World War. The results of the conflicts were half of the Greater Macedonia region under Greek administration after the Balkan Wars, accompanied by post-WWI Western Thrace implemented by the infamous Treaty of Neuilly. Most of the population in both sections was predominantly Bulgarian, so they remained the scapegoats for Bulgarian irredentism throughout the interwar period.
The familiar spark that ignited our battle today came on October 18, 1925 CE. In the morning, a Greek soldier guarded a border post at the Demir Kapou pass. Suddenly he saw a stray dog running to the other side, and the Greek soldier took a few steps into Bulgarian territory to retrieve this lost dog. As expected, the Bulgarian guard targeted and shot the Greek soldier. It finally started the infamous Stray Dog War.
Bulgaria stressed that the dismissal was the result of an apparent misunderstanding and expressed regret. In addition, the Bulgarian government has offered to form a commission of Bulgarian and Greek officers to investigate the incident. When Theodoros Pangalos, 47, the Greek lieutenant general, learned of the murders, he saw it as further evidence of Bulgarian betrayal. The Greek administration refused any mediation as long as the Bulgarian troops remained in Greek territory.
Under Lieutenant-General Theodoros Pangalos, the Greek administration issued a two-day ultimatum to Bulgaria to punish those responsible, issue an official apology and two million French francs as compensation for the families of the victims.
The battle between Bulgarian and Greek forces began after the former refused to pay 2 million French francs in 48 hours. The Greek army broke through enemy defenses with almost no problem and sank deep into the heart of Bulgaria, looting, pillaging and leaving a trail of burnt towns everywhere. The Greeks also took the opportunity to strike the Macedonian enclaves in Bulgaria, hoping to deal a blow to the long separatist movement. Rather than risk further bloodshed, the Bulgarians withdrew in the face of the invaders, preferring withdrawal and evacuation in combat.
Despite their triumphant victory at the start of the war, the Greek soldiers quickly exhausted themselves. They were still recovering from the defeat of the 1919 war with Turkey and found it difficult to maintain their operations in Bulgaria. Pangalos concluded that Greece needs allies. Athens turned to Serbia to help destroy Bulgaria. In exchange for an alliance with Greece, Athens would offer the Serbs a railroad to the Hellenic port city of Thessaloniki and a control zone in the province.
However, at Bulgaria’s request, the League of Nations (comprising almost all of the major European powers) quickly intervened. The League ordered an immediate ceasefire. They asked Greek troops to withdraw from Bulgaria and Greece to pay Bulgaria around £ 45,000 in compensation. Both nations accepted the decision, but Greece protested the inequality between its treatment and that of Italy during the Corfu incident in 1923 CE. Italy had previously unjustly occupied and invaded the island, prompting Greece to pay war restitutions. There was a rule in the League for the great powers like Italy and another for the smaller powers like Greece. This angered Greece, but they accepted the ceasefire decision.
The League Council sent attachés from Italy, France and the United Kingdom to signal the end of hostilities and record the retreat of Greek troops.
The opinions expressed above are those of the author.
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