The Apple of Discord: Macedonia, The Balkan League, and The Military Topography of The First Balkan War
Major David S. Anderson
THE APPLE OF DISCORD: MACEDONIA, THE BALKAN LEAGUE, AND THE MILITARY TOPOGRAPHY OF THE FIRST BALKAN WAR, 1912-1913, by Major David S. Anderson, USA, 65 pages.
This monograph investigates the history of the brief, bloody, confusing, and tragically influential First Balkan War of 1912-1913. It examines the military topography of the Balkan peninsula and the tactical operations of the belligerent nations, especially those of the Ottoman Empire and Serbia. It suggests a number of historical and tactical lessons for American heavy and light forces which may be deployed to the region, either as UN peacekeepers or in some more active role.
Events in the Balkans are best understood with a historical foundation. Macedonia is the European apple of discord, both disputed and claimed by many nations since antiquity. Control of Macedonia means control of lucrative trade routes to and from the central European interior. It is both the geographic heart of the Balkan peninsula and the historical centerpiece of political and military activity in southeastern Europe. This confluence of history, politics, and commerce makes Macedonia a flashpoint for ethnic tension and conflict. Soldiers placed between rival factions can understand and mediate disputes better if they have an appreciation for the region.
In 1912-1913, the large armies of the Ottoman Empire and the Balkan League fought a forgotten war that served as the prelude to World War I. This monograph examines the tactical defeat of the Ottoman Army by the Serbs in the Macedonian theater and the effect of regional topography on the two armies. American soldiers serving as UN peacekeepers in Macedonia will find the terrain just as challenging as the Ottoman and Serbian armies did eighty years ago. In addition, they will find that the people of the region take their history personally.
Commanders can gain an appreciation for the difficulty and the magnitude of the task of conducting military operations in the Balkans by understanding: 1.) the historical example of the First Balkan War; and 2.) the effect of Balkan topography on historical military operations. This monograph addresses both issues.
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